Follow Judi's blog - A Baby Boomer Woman's Life After 50, She'll keep you young in mind, body and spirit. And, if you keep your chin up and are optimistic like Judi Boomer Girl, your neck will stay forever wrinkle-free.
When I sat down to write about my second 24 hours in London, I realized that I needed to pen a special post about my best-ever fashionista day at the Dior exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum. OMG, it was so fabulous that I wish I could have gone through the collection twice. But what’s so great about sharing the exhibit with you is that I kinda get to do that!
Christian Dior – Designer of Dreams exhibit is at the Victoria and Albert Museum this summer.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, if you’re a fashionista like me by the time you finish learning about Dior’s life (which I’m going to share a bit of) and viewing his magnificent couture creations (which I’m going to share a lot of), you’ll want to book a summer trip to London. I recommend you hurry because the show closes on September 1st. Be sure if you plan to go that you get advance tickets online.
These Dior designs were inspired by the gardens, a favorite theme of Christian Dior and the designers who followed him
Are you ready to be dazzled? Are you ready for fashionista fabulous-ness?
I hope my pictures do the show justice. I’ve curated my photos for crops, color, lighting, contrast and brightness to showcase the designs and fabrics.
The outer garments are from Raf Simons 2014 and the center gown, inspired by the painter Manet’s female subjects, is from John Galliano 2007
An historic look back at Christian Dior
I’ve been a fan of Dior designs over the years — at the MET Costume Exhibitions and adorned on celebrities or pages of Vogue — yet it wasn’t until going to the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibit that I understood Dior’s history and his design inspiration.
According to the V&A show: “Christian Dior was born into a wealthy Normandy family in the French seaside town of Granville in 1905. As a child he shared his mother’s love of gardens.” Architecture and designing fancy costumes for his friends were two other early passions. His family sent him to school to study political science in Paris, where he ended up living a bohemian lifestyle among artists and musicians.
This Palomita Dress, meaning ‘little dove’ was by Dior 1953
In 1928, he opened an art gallery, which closed after his family’s fortune collapsed during the Depression. He took up fashion drawing to make a living, later working with top couturiers.
In 1946, Dior founded his own couture house with backing from a textile manufacturer and in 1947, the House of Dior launched its first collection. Great accolades from the press brought Dior instant success and worldwide recognition in fashion. By 1955, House of Dior accounted for over 50% of overseas exports of French haute couture.
The Mexico tulip dress is by Dior 1953 while the Escaramuza Ensemble is from Maria Grazia Chiuri cruise line 2019
Sadly, in the peak of his career, Dior died suddenly in the fall of 1957. Note: Based on Wikipedia, it sounds like he died of a heart attack.
The influences in Dior’s designs
Each exhibit hall at V&A showcases the influences in Dior’s designs — from his travels around the world in his twenties to his fascination with gardens.
Can you guess which garden inspired dress is from 2013 and which one is from 1955?
In Travels, the dresses feature the architecture, landscapes, art and textiles of his ventures to London, Athens, Istanbul and Leningrad, as well as his time spent in the Mediterranean. Some of the dresses are named after the places that he visited. Couture by more contemporary leaders of The House of Dior follow these themes as well.
Dior’s travels to India inspired his designs and those of other Dior creative directors
In The Garden hall, flowers are the focus “from single silk flower decorations to abundant prints and intricate embroideries. Dior said, “After women, flowers are the most divine of creations.” Ooh, ooh, ooh, a man after my own heart.
More garden inspired dresses from John Galliano 2010
Creative directors for Dior continue his legacy
As the curator of the V&A show says, “Since 1957, the House of Dior has been led by six creative directors: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simon and the current female designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri. Each is highlighted in the Designer of Dreams exhibit. It’s interesting to see how each creative director brings his or her own unique design perspective while carrying on the legacy of the House’s creator.
Haute couture under Marc Bohan’s creative direction from 1960 – 1989
The seamstresses behind the garments
The curator also provides a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the prototype garments constructed by the women and men in the back of the house. As a fashionista and former seamstress, seeing how prototype garments come to life is equally exciting. It brought back memories of my own schooling when I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer during my early days in college.
Dior says that “the real job is to get all the hands that cut, sew, try on and embroider to express all I have felt”
A dynamic diorama
The grand finale of the exhibit encompasses a gigantic Diorama. Remember when you used to make mini dioramas in elementary school? It was absolutely awesome, with an immense selection of accessories in miniature — perfume, gloves, stockings, jewelry, shoes, and hats.
The Diorama showcases accessories in miniature
Haute couture made famous by the famous
The Diorama was so incredible, could there really be more? Yes, yes, yes, it was like having another encore. To close the show there were dramatic displays of black and white dresses, and the gowns made famous by the famous who wore them to the Oscars, Cannes, and other special nights. Gowns worn by Jennifer Lawrence, Rhianna, Lupita Nyong’o, and Nicole Kidman were on display along with their celebrity photo op.
Dior Juno haute couture 1949
Dior dresses worn by famous celebrities
It was thrilling to see so much fabulous fashion in one venue. Simply breathtaking to take it all in. I wish I could have made a second round — yet with only two days in London, there wasn’t a minute to spare. We were off to our next stop. Thankfully, I have my photos so I can cherish the beauty of Dior’s haute couture forever.
P.S. Ooh, ooh, ooh, which Dior dress is your favorite? Leave a comment. Ooh, ooh, ooh, come back next week when I share where my fellow female travelers and I went and where we ate during our last afternoon in London.
It was time for our June girls’ trip to Europe. I was traveling with my sister N, my daughter A, and her friend M (who is lucky to live in Paris). Our first stop was a two day stay in London followed by the main event — a week in Sicily. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I can’t wait to share all the details about our lovely day one of sightseeing in London. Not to worry, I’ll get to our Italian adventure in future posts.
It’s amazing how many sites we saw and how much great food we consumed during our first 10 hours in Britain’s capital city. Counting 25,000 steps on day one, we managed to meander around quite a few neighborhoods, parks and historic establishments. Did I mention I’m loyal to the Royals, I love British history and accents, and adore McVitties digestive biscuits? Can you see why I wanted to make a stop in London on our way to Sicily?
Westminster Abbey is filled with British history
From Heathrow to Bayswater
The three of us from the States met at Heathrow upon arrival and grabbed a taxi to the Caesar Hotel in Bayswater. (Note: M joined us on day two.) Located in a residential area near Notting Hill with four subway stations within a 10 minute walk, the Caesar is ranked as a top spot in London on booking.com. It was one of the few hotels I found that had two twin beds in each room.
Despite our mutual lack of sleep, we dropped off our bags and were off and running under partly cloudy skies for a full day of sightseeing.
Our hotel was within walking distance of Hyde Park
Our first foodie affair at Ottolenghi
With morning traffic getting into town from the airport, it was almost noon by the time we reached city limits. “Let’s walk over to Ottolenghi Market in Notting Hill and have lunch,” said A. She didn’t have to twist my arm, I’m a big foodie fan of chef Yotem Ottolenghi and his Jerusalem and Plenty cookbooks. I was looking forward to eating at his market.
Chef and cookbook author Yotem Ottolenghi has several markets and restaurants in London
The shop is mostly for takeout but there is a large communal table if you want to dine in. The food was just as Ottolenghi describes: “It’s full of harmonious contradictions: it’s vibrant and bold yet familiar and comforting; it’s beautiful to look at yet close to its original form; it’s full of surprising drama yet always comes together as one; it’s noisy yet peaceful, lip-smacking yet warm, simple yet daring.”
The desserts at Ottolenghi are scrumptious
My selection included a main with two sides. I chose pepita crusted sea bass with baked aubergine (eggplant) and cauliflower tabouli. It was so good, so good, so good.
My sea bass with aubergine and cauliflower tabouli was so good
Navigating the tourist attractions in London
Tummies full, we were ready to tackle London’s tourist attractions. We opened our city map and began to navigate. Our steps led us through the greenery of Hyde Park to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. From there we strolled through St. James Park viewing the beautiful flowers (sneezing as the pollen accumulated on our clothes) until we reached Westminster Abbey.
It’s a tradition to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace
St James Park flowers and greenery are lush from all the rain
Down from the Abbey is the towering 135 m Coca Cola London Eye, known as “the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel,” providing a perspective of London like no other. Millions of tourists board this structure every year. It’s a magnificent feat of engineering. If you are visiting and want to buy tickets I suggest you purchase them in advance online.
Coca Cola London Eye provides great views of the city
Our second foodie affair at Harrod’s Food Halls
For a late afternoon pick-me-up, we entered Harrod’s, the famous London department store. According to its website, “Harrods has been at the pinnacle of luxury retail for over 160 years and a pioneer in food retail since 1834.” We did some window shopping on the designer levels, took a potty break, and then escalated down to the Food Halls on the lower level.
The architecture and elegance of Harrod’s Food Halls are unique to London’s food emporium
OMG, entering the Food Halls is like walking into a foodie coma. From the Butcher to the Fishmonger, the Bakery to the Fruit & Vegetable Butchery, the Charcuterie to the Cheese Shop, the Roastery to the Patisserie, it was a total sensory experience. My favorite was the Chocolate and Confectionery Hall and the Florist. I bought some Harrod’s coffee from the Roastery as a souvenir for my boyfriend L.
The pastries in the Patisserie are irresistible
By the time we left Harrod’s it was approaching 6:30 pm. We could barely feel our feet and wondered if they would indeed lead us back to the Caesar. Perhaps we should hop in a taxi or take the tube?
I couldn’t leave Harrod’s without taking a picture with Paddington Bear
Dashing off to Dishroom
My son D had recommended Dishroom for dinner. “I had the best-ever Indian food at Dishroom,” texted D. “There are several Dishroom restaurants around London.” “Let’s go to Dishroom in Kensington near our hotel,” said A. We were able to get a reservation for 8:00 pm. With 90 minutes to spare, why take a taxi or the tube? “We can walk it,” said A.
Dishroom is a Bombay cafe
N and I mustered up our energy. Step by step we crossed back through two parks over hills and grass arriving at Dishroom with a little wait. The restaurant was bustling.
Dishroom says it “pays homage to the Irani cafes and the food of all Bombay. Dishroom says that “Old Irani cafes offered faded elegance which welcomed all: courting couples, sweaty taxi-wallas, students, artists and lawyers. These cafes broke down barriers by bringing people together over food and drink.” We dined on shrimp masala, chicken biryani and soaked it up with tasty naan. It was so good, so good, so good.
Dishroom Chicken Biryani
With a few steps left in our stride we made it back to the Caesar and into our beds. Tomorrow would bring day two in London, including tickets to the Dior exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a visit to Covent Garden, and more fashion and foodie fun — I couldn’t think of a better girl’s trip agenda.
In my next London blog post I’ll share more from the Dior exhibit at V&A
My stomach was empty as I entered the Jacob Javits Center earlier this week for my walkabout — or should I say drink-and-eat-about — at the 2019 Fancy Food Show. It’s an annual trade show put on by the Specialty Food Association (SFA) for food buyers. I was wearing my media badge, searching out new wellness food trends that my post 50 female readers might find of interest.
Eating Parmesan cheese is always a high point for me at the Fancy Food Show.
A race to the finish line
With four hours to spare until I caught my bus home, I zigged and zagged my way through two floors of exhibits, tasting, sipping, and sometimes deeply engaging as I savored each morsel, especially each morsel of dark chocolate. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I also could not resist multiple bites of Parmesan cheese cut from the wheel and multiple pieces of ciabatta made with Molino Vigevano authentic Italian bread flour. I left my gluten free diet at home for the day. (Ooh, ooh, ooh, I found out you can purchase this bread and pizza flour at World Market. Click on the link to find out.)
This Italian wheat ciabatta bread was so delicious.
Big market for specialty foods and beverages
According to the SFA 2019-2020 Report, specialty foods and beverages hit $148.7 billion in sales in 2018. Wow-o-wow, that’s a lot of dollars. From what I could tell as I walked the floor, growth is definitely coming from functional beverages. Wait until I tell you about the 20+ beverages I consumed. I should be glowing right now with all the collagen I put in my body.
Waters enhanced with collagen are trending.
As for purchasing any of these products, I recommend you check Amazon, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and your local supermarket. Some of the companies sell their products online direct to consumers as well.
Trendspotting wellness food trends
I always enjoy seeing if I can spot the trends like the SFA Trendspotter Panel. Here’s what’s on their radar:
♥ Specialty waters are the top category forecast to grow over the next five years. Did I say that functional beverages are trending? I’m spot on! Go Judi, go Judi, go Judi.
♥ Jerky and meat snacks are poised for growth. I skipped the meat snacks, as I don’t like jerky. However, I did try the No-Evil pastrami plant based jerky. It wasn’t like real pastrami, which I will likely never eat again unless I decide I want to raise my already high cholesterol to heart attack level. I can see how some hungry guys like my son D or boyfriend L might like it.
♥ Plant-based snacks and dairy alternatives are expected to continue their reign. I was eager to try Good Planet cheeses, a plant-based cheese. However, when I arrived at the booth the pizzas were still in the oven.
To lower the carbs this pizza has a broccoli crust.
♥ African foods continue to grow with condiments popular in Ghana and throughout West Africa.
♥ Convenient, single-serve packaging is trending. There were plenty of smaller packages of dried fruits, protein bars and rice cakes for snacking.
♥ Functional foods and beverages with health attributes are a priority. Yep, high up on my list. Go Judi, go Judi, go Judi.
Enhanced beverages with functional ingredients are growing in popularity.
These condiments are made by Arab and Israeli women.
Drink to good health with wellness beverages
It was literally a beverage bonanza at the Show. From probiotics to vitamin waters, caffeine-free to caffeine renewal, collagen boosters to botanical brews, I tried them all and more.
I’m a big fan of GT’S Kombucha. GT Dave and his family were intrigued by this fizzy, fermented tea’s ancient healing properties and decided to brew their own batches.
In late 1994, GT’s mom was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of breast cancer. When she healed, she shared with doctors that she had been drinking a very pungent, homemade tea. The tea was GT’s Kombucha. Their Kombucha was the first on shelves in the U.S.
I’m a big fan of Kombucha.
Kombucha has a unique taste, almost vinegar-like with living probiotics, amino acids, polyphenols, and active enzymes. Now GT’S also offers other functional beverages including new Dream Catcher sparkling wellness waters with premium hemp-derived CBD & gentle caffeine. This refreshing drink says it offers calm, focused energy to help you #LiveYourDream. I noticed a few beverages that offered caffeine for energy with a supplement for calm — an interesting combination.
♥ Plant based creamers and milks
Laird Superfood Creamers are dairy-free powdered coconut-based blends to add to coffee, tea, smoothies and other foods for an energy boost. The Forager Project organic plant-based creamery sells Coconut Cashew Milk and Organic Dairy-free Half & Half, along with other dairy-free products. Mooala is an organic brand that makes Almondmilk and flavored dairy-free and nut-free Bananamilk.
Note the Glow team says that collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and a major building block for the skin, bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. I’ve use collagen-infused beauty creams on my face but never thought of drinking my collagen. Glow says that hydrolyzed collagen is clinically proven to support hair, skin, nail and joint health and helps reverse signs of aging and photodamage. Definitely going to check out these collagen drinks in more detail for my post 50 body.
♥ Soothing teas
I sipped some pretty teas made with Rishi Tea & Botanicals. The hostess mixed the beautifying herb Blue Butterfly Pea Flower Powder in deep purple with new Mulberry Mangosteen Hibiscus Powder with a pink hue. The colors were so vibrant.
Rishi botanicals added to water made the beverages vibrant in color.
Twinings is adding more wellness teas including Glow Nettle for healthy skin, Focus Ginseng to support mental focus, Nourish Beetroot for heart health and Comfort Tumeric to support joints. (Note: These new teas are not on the market yet.)
I was equally curious about Good Nature Medicinal Teas which are designated as herbal dietary supplements. The company sells different varieties to promote healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Wish I could just drink a cup of tea every morning to lower my LDL instead of having to give myself Pradulent shots every two weeks. It would be so much easier and maybe have less side effects. (Note: This company website is not working.)
These teas help improve blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.
♥ Specialty waters
There were so many waters. Phocus Sparkling Water says they have “nothing bad, so you can Phocus on the good.” Their fruit and vegetable flavored waters contain 75 mg of caffeine derived from green tea (equivalent to an 8-0unce cup of coffee) and L-Theanine, a natural anxiety-reducing amino acid, that works together with caffeine to ensure a smooth, steady, jitter-free boost. Seems those who are stressed need a boost as well as relaxation from the high.
GoLive Probiotic Water promotes gut health. It comes in ready-to-drink bottles and drink blends to add to water. There are 15 probiotic strains in all GoLive products.
Probiotics are helpful for gut health.
Treo Fruit & Birch Water is caffeine free and contains electrolytes, minerals and antioxidants. It’s sweetness comes from the organic birch water and natural sweeteners. If you prefer maple tree water, you might like Sap on Tap. There are three flavors with different benefits, Recover, Replenish and Natural Energy.
For those who desire premium functional hydration, you’ll want to opt for Recover 180. It’s contains 3x the electrolytes, half the calories and a third of the sugar than regular hydration drinks.
Recover 180 is loaded with electrolytes.
According to Indicoco, coconut water has been dubbed the “Fluid of Life” and the Hawaiians call it “dew from heavens.” They say that coconut water IV therapy has been in use for more than 60 years as far back as WWII. Really? They say due to its sterile properties, coconut water has been used as a blood plasma substitute. Really?
If you like your coconut water with a pink hue, I suggest you try NutriVsta Natural Coconut Water. It comes from young Thai coconuts which have light pink meat.
NutraVsta water is a made with Thai coconuts that have pink meat.
O.Vine Alcohol Free Wine Essence Water is refreshing served chilled and contains hidden antioxidants from the grapes used to make the wine water. It reminded me when I was in Sicily a few weeks ago and some of the Austrians on our tour added water to their wine. They said it is a popular drink in Austria.
O’Vine Wine Essence Water provides a non-alcoholic alternative.
♥ Holistic juices
Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co., known for its authentic fruit juices, premiered a new line of Holistic Juices with names like Purify – to help reduce inflammation & improve digestion, Relax – made with chamomile to calm the mind, Resilient – with an immune-boosting blend of elderberry, tumeric, ginger and vitamin C packed blood oranges, and Aura – containing the medicinal herb ashwagandha.
Natalie’s introduced Holistic Juices with different wellness properties.
I picked up a sample of Brain Juice. This liquid dietary supplement is in a shot bottle and is supposed to help your brain with focus, clarity, memory and mood. Wonder if this miracle boost will help my menopausal memory?
New ways to get your fruits and veggies
I’m big on fruits and veggies so I found the following products to my liking: RIND sun-dried super fruits with the peel ♥ Bloom Fresh Golden Berries to add to salads or for a pop in your mouth snack ♥ Wild Joy Good Banana Jerky, great alternative to meat jerky ♥ Hamona coconuts that come with a natural puncture point to insert a drinking straw ♥ Date Lady products filled with the natural sweetness of dates ♥ Otamot tomato sauce made with 10 veggies and 15 vitamins and minerals.
If you have any interest in trying the keto diet, there are many high fat, low carb products on the market. Healthline says the keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones. Definitely check with your doctor or dietitian if you plan to go on the keto diet.
There were enough keto booths to make me think it’s a popular diet. Here are some examples: Kiss My Keto Ketogenic Original Dark Chocolate has 13 grams of fat, 2 g net carbs and 0 g sugar ♥ Fat Snax Cookies are low carb, keto and sugar free ♥ Keto Pint ketogenic ice cream with no sugar added and 3 g net carbs per serving.
Keto Pint ice cream is low in carbs and high in fat.
Need a protein fix?
I’m amazed at how many people I know eat protein bars for breakfast. I’m so lucky to have time to make quick cooking steel cooked oats each morning. For those of you on-the-go here are some new protein bars to try, most are gluten-free: The Protein Ball Co. Breakfast Oat Balls ♥ WOLO Protein WanderBar with 15 gms protein ♥ Jonesbar real food bars ♥ Bob’s Red Mill Better Bars made with oats.
The Saucy Ladies Kettle Chips were founded by a boomer women.
Sweet endings with ice cream and chocolate
I saved the best for last – ice cream and chocolate! Those two categories did me in, especially all the dark chocolate I consumed.
First, let me tell you about the ice creams: Spot Dessert Bar Scoop ice cream comes in unique flavors like Misugaru made with a beverage from Korea and Banana Milk and Graham, another Korean flavor. It’s from the famous Spot Dessert Bar in NYC. ♥ NAIA Gelato is now available in near pint-sized packaging ♥ Peekaboo organic, dairy ice cream with veggies in every spoonful ♥ Revele Chocolate Dipped Vegan Frozen Yogurt Bars ♥ HotScream Ice Cream is blended with spicy swirl.
These frozen yogurt pops are good for vegans.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, each bite of dark chocolate was irresistible, simply irresistible. I couldn’t stop eating some of these sweets: John Kelly Semi-Sweet Chocolate & Caramel with Hawaiian Alana Sea Salt (To die for it’s so good. May have to go to Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus to buy these treats.) ♥ Hu Vegan Cashew Butter + Pure Vanilla Bean Dark Chocolate ♥ FIKA chocolate snacks ♥ Laceys Almond & Dark Chocolate Crisp Toffee Wafer Cookies ♥ Chocti Chocolate Ghee Spread, yes now Ghee comes in a chocolate variety and..
One of my favorite writers, Judith Viorst, has a new book out with poems about aging, this time about late life aging. I had a chance to review the cute compilation called Nearing 90 and Other Comedies of Late Life and chuckled after reading each page. It’s a great book to give to a parent or friend who is approaching their ninth decade.
At 88, Judith uses her well-gained wisdom coupled with savvy and humor to thoroughly entertain. She and her husband Milton Viorst, a political writer, have been partners for nearly 60 years, so she has extensive material to draw from. You can tell from her prose that her marriage is filled with love.
Getting older and older
Even though I’m almost 30 years away from 90, and hope to reach that milestone one day, I found myself relating to some of Judith’s trials and tribulations of late life aging. For example, in “What Happened,” she writes “…And while, when the children were grown up and gone, and he had finally retired, we were – for better or worse – alone at last; And while, as the years sped past, we found ourselves listening to more eulogies than symphonies; And while I drove him to specialists and he drove me to specialists and we kept each other warm when it was cold, What happened was we got oldish, then older, then even older than that. And then we got old.”
Judith Viorst’s latest book features poems about late life aging.
Becoming like our mothers
In “Trading Places,” Judith elaborates on the Oscar Wilde quote that “All women become like their mothers.” Yep, it’s been happening to me lately too. How about you? As Judith says, “I once had these conversations with my mother. Now my kids are having them with me.”
There’s another poem called “It’s Time,” where Judith talks about accepting changes, such as “It’s time I gave up showing a little cleavage.” Or “It’s time we stopped eating at restaurants where no one can hear unless, we go on a night we’re not talking to each other.”
Similar in “I Should Be Over This By Now,” Judith laments about her body. She says “And I’m still getting up, pulse racing every morning To read the day’s verdict on my bathroom scale, When I really should be over this by now.” Me too, Judith, me too!
Milton and Judith Viorst have been married for almost six decades. (Photo credit Marya Gwadz.)
Positive aging is about attitude
The last section of the book titled “Endings” includes poems about different aspects of aging such as creating bucket lists, facing dementia, and facing one’s mortality. Even with serious topics, Judith addresses each poem with candor and grace. That’s because she has such a way with words and a positive attitude about getting older. Instead of the usual things that are on one’s bucket list, her poem about “Some of the Things That Are Not on My Bucket List,” is very funny. She writes:
“I don’t plan on writing a book that is unostentatiously profound.
I don’t plan on getting into competitive rowing.
I just plan on planting some tulip bulbs, hoping to still be around
When the tulips start growing.”
And finally about “Attitude,” which has it’s own poem, Judith says:
“Once upon a time I twinkled.
Now I’m achy, creaky, crinkled,
Also slowed-down, sideline, out of touch.
No stroke. No chemotherapy.
And (as of now) dementia-free.
What’s there to complain about? Not much.”
Thanks for the laughs Judith. I hope I can be as full of life when I’m 88.
Enter the #giveaway for “Forever Fifty” by Judith Viorst Click To Tweet
Judith is equally, if not more famous for her children’s books, specifically Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I remember reading Alexander to my kids. It’s a sweet story about a little boy named after one of Judith’s sons, who doesn’t have a good day. The book has sold millions of copies.
Judith has written non-fiction as well. She is a graduate of Washington Psychoanalytic Institute and wrote the bestseller Necessary Losses, which is an excellent book for anyone dealing with grief and loss.
Enter the giveaway for a copy of Forever Fifty and Other Negotiations
As a tribute to the almost nonagenarian Judith Viorst, I’m hosting a giveaway for Forever Fifty and Other Negotiations. To enter fill out the Rafflecopter entry below or leave a comment about what you love about life now that you’re post 50. (Note: This giveaway is open to USA residents only due to postage.)
“The travel industry is in a really healthy place. Travel gives people an opportunity to escape,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts at the 2019 New York Times Travel Show. Lindsey was one of the esteemed group of female leaders who addressed the crowd at this year’s industry panel at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City in January.
Are you ready to escape the everyday? If not, you will be when I’m done sharing this post filled with ideas to get you thinking or maybe planning your next vacation. As I told you in my previous post, boomers are on the go, spending the most $ of any generation.
Panelists pictured (l to r): Jennifer Tombaugh, Christine Duffy, Jackie Friedman, Kirstin Karst, Lindsey Ueberroth
There’s great optimism in the travel industry
“People don’t want to stay home anymore,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. Christine mentioned that multi-generational travel is exploding — such as grandparents going with kids and grandkids or just grandparents taking their grandkids. “We will travel 5.2 million guests on our fleet this year,” she said. In May, Carnival started cruises from NYC to Cuba. (Uh oh, breaking news, thanks to our POTUS there may be no Cuba trips for now.)
Most popular places to travel in 2019
“Italy is still the main destination,” said Lindsey. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I’ll be heading there very soon so be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram @judiboomergirl. Lindsey also mentioned New York City, New Orleans, Sonoma County California, Tokyo, Iceland, Ireland, Southeast Asia (Myanmar and Cambodia), Portugal and Barcelona.
Italy is always a favorite destination for travelers
Kristen Karst, EVP and co-owner of AmaWaterways, commented that while river cruises on the Danube and Rhine are still in high demand, people want to see more unexplored destinations as well. “Our new ship on the Douro river in Portugal sold out in 2019 and into 2020,” said Kristen.
Portugal is one of the popular places to travel in 2019
Regarding river cruising, I received a press release from Viking Cruises announcing an expansion of its Egypt program for the 2020 season which will include the launch of a new ship, Viking Osiris, set to debut in September 2020. In addition, there will be two new pre-cruise extensions designed to enhance guests’ knowledge of Egyptology prior to arriving in Cairo. These five-day extensions to Viking’s Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary will provide guests with privileged access to archives and exhibits in London and Oxford that are not normally accessible to the public. It’s actually not too early to start thinking of 2020 travel.
More women are choosing to travel solo if they can’t find a travel mate
Jackie Friedman, president, Nexion Travel Group, highlighted the trend in solo travel. “Thirty-six percent of travelers said they would take a trip solo if they didn’t have anyone to travel with,” she noted. BTW, if you’re interested in going solo, you should read the post I wrote about solo female travelers for the Explorations by Collette blog.
“Small is big,” said Jennifer Tombaugh, President of Tauck tours. She was referring to Tauck’s small ship cruising which allows people to get to places they can’t on their own. Beyond cruising, small group land tours with an intimate-sized group and higher guest to guide ratio are desired. “The personalization is important,” Jennifer added. I know Collette Travel offers these type of tours as part of its Explorations brand too.
YO1 India’s Holistic Wellness Center caught my eye. It’s America’s first luxury nature cure destination in the Catskill Mountains of New York
How do you book your travel?
When it comes to booking vacations, panelists had high praise for travel advisors and travel agents. “More than 97 percent of our business is booked through travel agents,” said Kirsten. Lindsey advised using a travel agent when booking a complicated trip, for example to multiple countries or locations. She said a travel agent can provide expertise and cut down on planning time. Ooh, ooh, ooh, my neighbor C is becoming a travel agent during her life after 50. Check out her new site. She is very knowledgeable about booking cruises.
Fly direct from Philadelphia to Bologna this summer
Wow-o-wow! If you’re a foodie and you love Italy, this summer you can fly direct to Bologna from Philadelphia. That’s correct, American Airlines is flying direct to Bologna/Emilia Romagna from May to September. I went to the kick-off media event in Philadelphia in April. Bologna/Emilia Romagna is high on my travel bucket list. Listen to these stats:
♥ There are 54 UNESCO sites in and around Bologna.
♥ Lonely Planet named Emilia Romagna the best destination in Europe in 2018.
♥ Bologna is located in the heart of Italy. It’s between Milan and Venice and only 30 minutes by train to Florence.
♥ It’s the home of Motor Valley featuring museums about luxury cars like Lamborghini and Ferrari.
Fruit and vegetable stands in the Quadrilatero (photo courtesy of Irene Levine)
Food writer Irene Levine from More Time To Travel and Getting on Travel has visited Bologna/Emilia Romagna and has very positive things to say about it: “I have to admit, when in the Food Capital of the World, I guess my favorite thing to do is to eat! There are so many different opportunities to savor the unique foods of the Emilia Romagna region, whether it’s dining at one of the fabulous restaurants, taking a cooking class, touring FICO Eatalyworld or meandering through the Quadrilatero, the ancient food market in the historic center. I also love walking through the Piazza Maggiore, one of the most magnificent public squares in all of Europe, to see what’s happening that day or evening.”
An Italian cheese shop (photo courtesy of Irene Levine)
TripAdvisor unveils the 10 most popular U.S. summer destinations
When I travel, I often use TripAdvisor to research lodging, restaurants, and activities. I find the site offers a wealth of information for travelers booking vacations in the U.S. and internationally. The site just announced its 10 most popular U.S. summer destinations along with affordable alternatives. “Ninety-two percent of TripAdvisor members are planning a fun summer trip, up 12 percent from last year,” said Desiree Fish, vice president of global communications for TripAdvisor. Here’s the list of the 10 most popular followed by a more affordable alternative:
Orlando, FL or try the more affordable Kissimmee, FL
Las Vegas, NV or try Reno, NV
Myrtle Beach, SC or try Kill Devil Hills, NC
Maui, HA or try Oahu, HI
New York City, NY or try Philadelphia, PA
Key West, FL or try Key Largo, FL
New Orleans, LA or try Miami, FL
Ocean City, MD or try Nags Head, NC
San Diego, CA or try Mammoth Lakes, CA
Virginia Beach, VA or try Williamsburg, VA
There you have it – the most popular places to travel in 2019. Are you ready to book a trip yet? What places sound appealing? Any others to recommend? Leave a comment and let me know your favorite places to travel.
As Hans Christian Andersen said: “To travel is to live!”
Note: This post includes an affiliate link for TripAdvisor — by clicking on the logo I receive a tiny renumeration. These funds help to support my blog.
I’m delighted to share my interview about the “5 Things I Learned In My 50s” which is featured on this week’s episode of “Me Time,” the podcast for women in midlife. “Me Time” is hosted by Health & Self-Care Coach for midlife women Kim Acedo, MS, CHWC, of Transformation Wellness For Women.
Kim and I met several years ago at a BlogHer conference and have remained friends via the Midlife Women’s Facebook Group, where we are both members. After reading my blog posts about my life after 50 transformation and my reflections on turning 60, Kim asked if I would be open to sharing some key things I learned during the past decade.
A podcast for women in midlife
As Kim says, “Me Time,” is a podcast for women in midlife who have been taking care of everyone else and now say, “It’s my turn to take care of me!” On the podcast, she interviews experts and explores topics such as health and aging, grandchildren, retirement, empty nest, adult children, friendships, wardrobe, decluttering, travel, self-discovery, and more!
Life coach Kim Acedo hosts the “Me Time” Midlife Podcast
The “Me Time” Midlife Community
In addition to hosting the podcast, Kim runs the “Me Time” Midlife Community, where midlife women can gather in a virtual community to share and discuss topics and issues related to this life stage. There are weekly activities such as “Me Time Mondays,” where members share their personal self-care suggestions and “Workout Wednesday,” where Kim provides exercise tips. Kim also offers monthly live virtual group discussions and in-person retreats and events throughout the year. Note there is a cost to join the community and fee for certain activities.
5 things I learned in my 50s
Wow – o – wow, I told Kim it was challenging to narrow down all I learned in the past 10 years to five things. Kim was very good at asking the right questions to help me focus on specific categories, as she should be since she is a life coach. In the podcast, the five areas you’ll hear me talk about include:
The importance of health and wellness during my post 50 years.
The role that passion and curiosity play in finding happiness.
Strategies around financial planning and saving for retirement.
What companionship means at this stage of life, from making new friends to meeting a new soulmate.
Why finding your joy and how doing things that bring you joy can lead to greater fulfillment.
One of my yoga buddies is going to Thailand, another friend just returned from Ireland, and another is in Israel right now. Soon if all goes as planned I’ll be heading to London and Sicily. There’s no doubt about it, boomers are on the go, enjoying their leisure time by traveling the world or vacationing across the USA.
Travel is trending in the media too. When I turned on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend, the entire show was about Florence, Italy. It made me want to book a trip. If you missed the episode you should watch it.
There were more than 730 exhibitors at The New York Times Travel Show in 2019.
The biggest travel show ever
My travel sharing wouldn’t be complete without reporting back on the 2019 travel trends from The New York Times Travel Show. For sure you’ll be adding to your bucket list once you’ve heard about some of these dazzling destinations.
Last year, I told you travel was a popular pastime. It’s a pastime that continues to grow. How do I know? Listen to these stats: The Show, which took place from January 25-27, 2019 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, is the largest travel industry show in North America. In 2019 attendance hit a new record of 35,568 participants—the highest in the Show’s history. The number of exhibitors also hit a new record with over 730 companies representing 176 countries. (Note: If you cannot view the video below, click here.)
The New York Times Travel Show - YouTube
The New York Times Travel section has a growing readership as well with some of the paper’s most read articles, per Lisa Ryan Howard, its SVP and GM of Media. I think they do an amazing job with the annual 52 Places to Travel issue. I always enjoy going through the places to see where I’ve been and spark ideas for future travel.
“By generation, boomers are still spending the most money, followed by GenXers,” said Steve Cohen, SVP Travel Insights at MMGYGlobal, during his keynote presentation about Leisure Travel Today. Steve said that millennials spend the least but are likely to increase their spending, with 50 percent having families, 25 percent married, and 25 percent single.
Collette Travel tours are popular with boomers. They were Show exhibitors.
Where do Americans want to travel?
According to MMGYGlobal research, the top domestic destinations of interest are Hawaiian islands, Florida Keys/Key West, New York City, Washington, DC, New Orleans, San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, and Las Vegas. How would you rate these places? Are any on your bucket list? I’ve never been to Hawaii! My boyfriend L isn’t a fan of long flights – maybe I’ll go there solo on a yoga retreat. Anyone want to join me?
Margaritaville is a fun place to visit in Florida.
What about international destinations? Here are the top cities of interest: London (mostly because they speak the same language), Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence, Barcelona, Dublin, Amsterdam, Madrid, and Toronto. Would you agree? I’ve been to many of these cities and would go back anytime. I’ve yet to visit Venice or Dublin. Both are on my “travel bucket list.”
Food is a major draw
When it comes to traveling, food seems to be a major attraction. “People want to try authentic food eaten by locals, have new dining experiences, sample foods/dishes that are only available in the destination, eat street food and food from food trucks,” said Steve. In addition, he mentioned winery and distillery tours, food tours, and Michelin-starred restaurants as popular adds to itineraries. Ooh, ooh, ooh, do you watch Street Food on Netflix? It’s an eye-opener to Asian-style cuisine and will make you desire Thai or Vietnamese food!
Local food experiences, like this market I visited in Lyon, France, are a big part of travel.
Other aspects to consider when booking travel
Besides the destination, there are other aspects to consider when booking a trip. When renting a car, Steve noted that people tend to choose rental cars based on price. Top 5 appealing car rental brands were Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, Budget and National (note the stats showed these all had pretty close ratings). For lodging, he said people are still staying in hotels and a smaller percentage are using shared accommodations like AirBnB, VRBO and Homeaway. Hotel brands included Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, and Best Western. Most respondents were flying commercial flights naming preferred airline brands Delta, American, Southwest, United, and JetBlue.
AirBnb offers lodging options, like this one where I stayed in St. Pete, Florida.
Kids influence travel picks
Whether it’s a multi-generational trip, a GenX or millennial family vacation, or a grandparent taking a grandchild on a trip (without the parents), Steve said “we fail to realize how much kids impact vacations.” For example, his 8 year old daughter wanted to go to Beverly Hills to see celebrities. They built a family tradition of going to Beverly Hills. Now they go every year and stay at the Beverly Hills Hilton so she can see celebrities.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, Steve, can I come along? I’ve been wanting to go to the Golden Globes for more than 10 years. I bet my son D and daughter A would love to go with me. Maybe I should start my own family tradition.
I don’t have grandchildren yet. But when I do I know I’m going to want to take them on a vacation, as long as I’m able to by then. Dream on Judi, it’s years away.
Social media dominates travel destinations
As a blogger, especially with a love of travel blogging during my life after 50, I was interested to hear how social media impacts destination decision-making. For older audiences like boomers, the social media of choice is Facebook. Most millennials and those younger are on Instagram.
Some people go on adventure travel so they can take pictures of polar bears.
“People are picking their destinations based on social media,” said Steve. “People want to see what people are doing and not just seeing. Show yourself doing something. By posting pictures on social media you are influencing.”
Steve said that it is important for any destination to offer an Instagram-worthy picture and provide it with its own hashtag that people can add to their post. Sometimes social media gets out of hand. Steve highlighted that some influencers get carried away with social media and are traveling to certain locations just to take a picture. There’s also been instances where influencers have gotten hurt trying to take a selfie while climbing a mountain or flying solo on a cliff.
Not that I want to end on this cliff-hanger, but as I go through my notes I’m realizing that I have more information than I can share in one post. So come back next week when I’ll tell you about what I learned from the esteemed group of female travel executives that were on this year’s “State of the Industry Panel.” In 2018, there was only one female executive on the panel, and this year boomer women occupied all the chairs. How wonderful is that?
Meantime, leave a comment and LMK where you are traveling in 2019.
Last May, during Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, I shared my personal story with the disease. I was so thankful that my tumor was found to be non-invasive and with surgery was eliminated from my body. No additional treatment was needed except for quarterly scopes.
I knew that bladder cancer has a 50 – 80 percent chance of return. Each time I went for my bladder scope at the urologist’s office between 2018 and 2019 — I faced my fears. Would Dr. F find another tumor? If he did find another tumor, would it be non-invasive? Or on the positive side, would my bladder be forever cancer-free?
Orange ribbons are the symbol of bladder cancer. Photo courtesy of BCAN.org.
Chapter two in my bladder cancer story
In December, I was joyful when I reached the one year milestone with no new tumors.
Sadly, in March, I wasn’t as lucky.
“There’s another small lesion,” said Dr. F as he took the cystoscope out of my bladder. I was numb – not physically but emotionally. How could I have cancer when I’m feeling fine? There were no symptoms – no UTIs, no blood, no frequency.
“That’s why it’s important to have your scopes every three months, so we can hopefully catch things before they advance,” said Dr. F.
The end of March, I had my second bladder surgery. The tumor was removed and I awaited the results. Dealing with bladder cancer (or any kind of cancer diagnosis) is scary. I was really scared.
“The cancer was non-invasive. It’s a different kind of tumor than the first one,” said Dr. F as he reviewed the biopsy report. My first tumor was a non-invasive papillary tumor that grows out from the surface, the second tumor was carcinoma in situ, also known as Tis (CIS), a non-invasive flat tumor. “When cancer returns like this we recommend six weeks of BCG treatments,” advised Dr. F.
I was glad that the cancer was non-invasive. However, this second cancer diagnosis felt like an empty pit in my stomach — or should I say in my bladder. Why couldn’t I be among the percentage where it never comes back? Why did there need to be a chapter two in my cancer story?
More men are diagnosed with bladder cancer than women. Stats from BCAN.org.
Preparing for my weekly BCG treatments
Two weeks after surgery I began my BCG treatments. According to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN), which is a great resource for those with the disease, “Bacille Calmette-Guerin or BCG is an intravesical immunotherapy treatment that causes an immune or allergic reaction in the bladder. It has been shown to kill cancer cells on the lining of the bladder. It is often preferred for patients who have high grade tumors or who have CIS (like what I had), to reduce the risk of recurrence.
“BCG is a chemically weakened form of tuberculosis material. It works because the bacteria create an immune response in the bladder. Because the bacteria are weakened, there is very little risk of infection from the bacteria.”
For the past four weeks, I have had BCG instilled directly into my bladder each Tuesday. It is not a painful procedure. Once installed, I am sent home to baste my bladder with the BCG inside for two hours without voiding. “Recline and turn the body every 15 minutes so the bladder is fully covered with BCG,” said Dr. F. “If you can, also put your legs up the wall at some point so the BCG reaches the upper bladder where your tumor was located.”
Can I put my legs up the wall? That’s a yoga pose! Can I turn every 15 minutes? Absolutely! On goes the iPhone timer, chiming when it’s ready for me to turn. Left side, belly down, right side, on my back. Then the legs go up the wall. All good, my bladder is basting as it should for 120 minutes.
Ooh, ah, ooh, ah! Time to let it all out. For the next six hours I am required to add two cups of bleach to the toilet and let it sit for 15 minutes each time I relieve myself. This helps to prevent any BCG contamination, since it is a form of TB. I take this step very seriously. If there’s ever a pandemic come to my house. I have bottles of bleach, bleach wipes, a huge box of disposable gloves, antiseptic hand wipes. (Do you think this Type A person is going to let one raindrop of BCG escape? Ooh, ah, ooh, ah — no, no, no!)
The signs and symptoms of bladder cancer. (BCAN.org)
Healing my body, my mind, and my spirit
As I head into the last two weeks of BCG treatments, I am pleased to say that I haven’t experienced any significant side effects to date. Yes, I’m tired the day of the treatment and the day after. And I do have some frequency issues from the bladder being irritated. Overall, it’s been so far, so good. Plus, I feel blessed that I am able to get these BCG treatments, especially after hearing that the drug is in short supply and not readily available.
While my body is healing, my mind needs to mend too. With my daily yoga classes and teaching on hold (for the most part except for restorative yoga) during these weeks of treatments, my mind has tended to wander. Sometimes it wanders down the rabbit hole – fearing a future with cancer. Sometimes it wanders into the past — didn’t I have enough with the loss of my spouse 10 years ago? Then through mindfulness and coaching from my BFFs, I bring my spirit back into the present, into the here and now where it should be — celebrating every moment and being appreciative for all I have and all I can do each day.
Listening to inspiring podcasts
I’ve had opportunities to listen to some inspiring podcasts as I relax and slow down. One of my favorites was Oprah’s Master Class with the actor Jeff Bridges. Jeff says: “Life has ups and downs and it’s all about the journey. Strikes and gutters. Highs and lows that’s all life is.” I’m grateful that I’ve had many strikes through the years, especially during my life after 50. Cancer is just one of the gutters. I need to get that ball out of the gutter and get ready for my next strike.
Another podcast I liked was with broadcast journalist Robin Roberts.”This too shall pass,” Robin said she used to say to herself as she battled through breast cancer, MDS blood disorder and a stem cell transplant. Today Robin is well and leaving CBS Morning News to pursue a new beauty venture. You’re right Robin, I feel that way about my bladder cancer, “this too shall pass.”
The angels are sending me positive signs
I know “this too shall pass” because the angels are sending me positive signs. Take a look at the two angel cards I drew the past two Fridays at the beginning of restorative yoga.
♥ The first week my angel card said “Wellness: The recovery of health and wellness is here.”
♥ Last week my angel card said “Be Gentle with Yourself – You’ve been through a lot and need time to heal and recover.”
My wellness angel card.
My second angel card.
You see what I mean? These angels are sending me messages.
According to the team at Conscious Reminder, “angel cards represent a way of tapping into angelic guidance which comes from angels that follow us every day. Such angels are everywhere around us, so angel readings will be the way in which we can tap into the wisdom of those angels. We can present our problem, or ask some questions, and they will help us and guide us towards the solution.”
Although I haven’t had a true reading (maybe I’ll have to find someone to do that), I’m taking this as a sign that my focus for now is all about my well-being and getting my mind, body, and spirit ready for the next strike. For sure I will have more highs and lows during my life after 60. I hope the angels will always be by my side as I travel this journey.
Before I leave for this week, I want to say thank you to my blog readers who have been with me through the strikes and gutters during these past 10+ years. Your support means the world to me. My hope is that by sharing my stories I can help others who may be going through similar experiences and know that they are not alone.
Do you remember Ask Dr. Ruth, the show featuring the diminutive sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer? She went on the air in 1984. That was the year I married my late husband M. Did you listen to her show back then? We did. Remember how she used to answer callers questions about relationships and sex? It was way before the internet and social media when people didn’t really talk openly about sex. At the time, Dr. Ruth was at the forefront of the sexual revolution.
New documentary chronicles life of Dr. Ruth
This week, a new documentary premieres in theaters (and on Hulu in June) called ASK DR. RUTH. The film captures Dr. Ruth Westheimer as she approaches her 90th birthday, which happened almost a year ago. It’s hard to believe that this woman is 90 (or almost 91 as of this June). At 4 feet 7 inches, with her memorable thick German accent, she shows no signs of slowing down. She transformed the conversation around sexuality, sex therapy and education more than 35 years ago and continues to help advise and educate today.
ASK DR. RUTH is a documentary about sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer. (Photo courtesy of Hulu Originals.)
I had a chance to view a screener and enjoyed the film. Dr. Ruth’s storytelling drew me in and the use of historic mementos and flashbacks were engaging. The film revisits Dr. Ruth’s painful past during her early years as a Holocaust survivor and traces her path to a career at the forefront of the sexual revolution. It goes on to show how despite her size or gender, she transforms the conversation around sexuality. (Note: If you cannot see the video below, click ASK DR. RUTH trailer.)
Ask Dr. Ruth: Full Trailer (Official) • A Hulu Original Documentary - YouTube
Going strong at 90
“Am I going to get a boyfriend?” Dr. Ruth asks Alexa at the start of the film. She is full of energy as she walks around her Washington Heights apartment where she has lived for the past 34 years. I hope I am as vibrant as Dr. Ruth when I’m 90.
She has worked with the same PR person, Pierre Lu, for 36 years. He continues to keep her calendar jammed packed with media interviews. Plus she teaches courses at Hunter College and Columbia University and in 2018, she published three books. Always giving advice, she says: “Short people make better lovers.”
Dr. Ruth Westheimer in ASK DR. RUTH, a Hulu Originals film. (Photo courtesy of Hulu Originals.)
Revisiting a painful past
In the film, Dr. Ruth looks back on her early years. She was born in 1928 near Frankfurt, Germany and was a youngster when the Nazis came into power. As an only child of Orthodox Jews, her parents sent her away at 10 years old via Kindertransport to Switzerland, leaving behind her family during WWII. “My parents gave me life twice,” says Dr. Ruth, “once when I was born, second when I went to Switzerland.”
She along with 50 other Jewish children went to a Swiss orphanage, where they were treated as second class citizens. She kept a diary of her time growing up there and kept every letter her parents wrote — she still has the letters in a binder today. “The letters gave me hope and joy,” she said.
Unfortunately, after some time the letters stopped and she knew something was wrong. She later learned that her parents had been killed in the Holocaust in 1942, possibly at Auschwitz concentration camp.
Dr. Ruth Westheimer in ASK DR. RUTH, a Hulu Originals film. (Photo courtesy of Hulu Originals.)
The loves in her life
She met her first boyfriend Walter at the orphanage. Since girls weren’t able to attend school past the 8th grade, he transferred his knowledge and shared his books with her so she could continue learning.
After the war, she left Switzerland with her longtime friend and went on a boat to Palestine to live on a kibbutz. On her 20th birthday she became a sniper in Israel. While there she was wounded almost lost her legs.
She moved to Paris with her first husband David. But when he wanted to return to Israel, she divorced him. She met Ben, husband number two in Paris and they had a daughter Miriam.
In 1956, she came to America by boat, where she had to learn English. Two years later, she separated from Ben and fell in love with her third husband Fred. They had one son Joel and were together for 24 years until he passed away in 1997. “With Fred it was true love,” said Dr. Ruth.
Dr. Ruth Westheimer in ASK DR. RUTH, a Hulu Originals film. (Photo courtesy of Hulu Originals.)
A long and esteemed career
Dr. Ruth was 42 when she got her doctorate in psychology. Her undergraduate work was done at the University of Paris, where she also taught psychology. In the mid-70s, she studied at Cornell University (my alma mater) to train as a sex therapist.
Everything changed in 1981 when WYNY asked her to come on its radio show and talk about sex. At first the show was recorded. Then it went live on Sunday nights and became a call in show. Dr. Ruth’s career took off as word of mouth spread.
In addition, she became an advocate for Aids education during the height of her popularity and the height of the Aids crisis. Not only did she answer live questions about sex, but she talked about the Aids epidemic and homosexuality. Her hope as she said at the time was to “educate and find a cure.”
She did almost 500 radio shows during her time on the air and became known as the nation’s most popular sex therapist.
Dr. Ruth Westheimer on air in ASK DR. RUTH, a Hulu Originals film. (Photo courtesy of Hulu Originals.)
Making a huge impact
Near the close of the film, it’s nice to see Dr. Ruth’s grandchildren and others honoring her at 90 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Their words remind us of the “millions of people who have taken her advice and what an impact she has had.”
When asked about her life, she said, “Seventy years ago, I was wounded and almost lost my legs. Eighty years ago I left Frankfurt. If I were to talk to that girl now despite the tragic events I’d say ‘look what’s happened in your life.’ I have an obligation to live large and make a dent in this world.”
I owe a bit of thanks to Dr. Ruth. I know I took some of her relationship advice during those early years of marriage. What about you?
As for the new film, ASK DR. RUTH, I give it two thumbs up! If you’re a Dr. Ruth fan like me, go get your tickets!
Gorgeous, wondrous, comic, clever, beautiful, superb, extraordinary, awesome, terrific, daring! These are the words you’ll see when you enter The Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota. While I wasn’t a big fan of the circus when I was a kid, as an adult I found the tour of this museum to be fascinating and enjoyed learning about the history of what was once considered “the greatest show on earth.
Bold words are used to describe the circus
A foundation of Americana
“Welcome to the original circus museum,” said our guide Ed. “Ringling circus is all thanks to John Ringling. John and Mable moved here in 1911, built an art museum in 1920, and when they died in the 1930s they left everything to Florida.”
“The early days of the circus were absolutely spectacular,” said Ed. “It was a foundation of Americana. When the circus would come to town the posters would be plastered all over. People were excited.”
The Greatest Show on Earth movie about the circus was filmed in Sarasota
Getting to know the Ringling family
While John Ringling is the most well known of the family, he had six brothers, four of whom said they wanted to start a circus with John after visiting one. In the late 1800s, the wagon circus was mostly adult entertainment. However the Ringling brothers decided they wanted a family show. They started their circus in their hometown of Baraboo, Wisconsin. By the early 1900s, their circus became the biggest show in America and they became circus kings. Ed said that over 1000 people traveled with the circus – wow-o-wow!
The Ringling Brothers started their circus in Wisconsin
Ed did not talk about Barnum and Bailey but since I’m sharing a brief history I thought I would include a little about the two other noteworthy circus members. Per Wikipedia: “In 1919 the Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth, a circus created by P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey, was merged with the Ringling Bros. World’s Greatest Shows. The Ringling brothers had purchased Barnum & Bailey Ltd. following Bailey’s death in 1906, but ran the circuses separately until they were merged.”
After his brothers died, John Ringling became one of the most wealthy Americans. He ran the circus each year from mid-March to December and moved winter quarters to Sarasota, where he stored everything for the season and invited people to come visit to see the quarters. “That’s why Sarasota is circus country,” said Ed.
When John passed away in 1936 his nephews continued the circus for several decades until they sold the Ringling circus in 1967. Eventually the new owners closed it.
The Big Top in its hay day
The museum showcases the original equipment from the Big Top’s hay day including John Ringling’s private Pullman railcar built in 1905. “John had a unique talent,” said Ed. “He would get in the railcar a year ahead so he would have everything ready for the following year for the new season.” He and his wife Mable, who he married later in life, would travel the country in the railcar.
You can tour John Ringling’s original railcar
The human canon was equally impressive. It was one of the greatest acts of the circus. Ed told us that John went to Europe to sign the Copenhagen family of father and sons who were famous for shooting themselves out of a canon. In 1929 the act became the closer for the show. By the 1940s, their 16 year old daughter joined the act. Eventually two females were shot out of the canon.
People were shot out of canons
The circus comes to town
It was magical to hear about how the circus came to town by wagon. “There was a parade,” Ed said. “Kids would go to bed and in the middle of the night the circus would be in town. By daybreak everything was set up and ready for the shows.” At 11:30 a.m. was the circus wagon and parade down the town’s main street. Then the animals were moved into the circus tent. Can you imagine such coordination?
Hundreds of horses traveled with the circus pulling the wagons. It’s amazing to think that in three to four hours everything was unloaded. The tigers and bears were in the big wagons. To make extra money there were the side shows with real people with oddities like the bearded lady and three legged man.
Jump on the bandwagon
The circus had its own sounds too. “The calliope whistle could be heard for miles, it was so loud,” Ed said. “The bandwagon was the last wagon and played circus music. “Have you heard the term ‘jump on the bandwagon’?” Ed asked. “It likely came from the circus so kids would follow the music.”
Our tour guide told us about the musical bandwagon
More to see at The Ringling
There’s much more to see during a visit to The Ringling and it’s well worth the price of admission. The campus includes a renowned art museum, a magnificent rose garden, and a learning center that houses a 3,800 square foot, 44,000-piece Howard Bros. Circus Model and interactive gallery. Plus, it’s situated on gorgeous grounds that overlook the bay with bayfront gardens. There is a restaurant, shop to buy circus souvenirs and food stands around the grounds.
The Mable Ringling Rose Garden
It’s time to say goodbye from The Ringling. Think I’ll conclude just like they did at the end of each circus performance. As they used to say back in its hay day — “may all your days be circus days!”
P.S. In case you missed my two previous posts about Sarasota, you can find them here: