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When I was asked to write this sponsored post for the brand VSP Individual Vision Plans,* I wasn’t sure what I was going to say. Then it hit me, seeing clearly is the key to a happy retirement. Yes, yes, yes, in every area of my life, I want to have sparkling vision for what and how I want my post 50, or as of last month, post 60 years to play out.

First, I’ll tell you what sparkling vision has meant, and continues to mean, to my retirement. Maybe some of these tips and suggestions will be helpful as you plan for your future. Then I’ll explain why you should check out the vision plans that VSP offers for retirees or those who no longer have coverage through an employer plan. Whether you need vision correction or not, everyone needs quality vision care.

Do you have a clear path for health and happiness in retirement?

Calculating A Fabulous Fiscal Life 
How you manage your finances can make or break your retirement. Everyone says to save, save, save for retirement. So that’s exactly what I did, did, did.

A few years before I took the plunge to leave my full-time job, I started making a list of my monthly totals so I could clearly see my spending habits, how to set my monthly budget for retirement, and if I could afford to retire early. It’s a good fiscal exercise whether you intend to retire or not. I added up my necessities, like my mortgage, car insurance, food, taxes, medical and dental expenses, gas & electric & cable bills. I also examined my non-essential spending for things like clothing, dining out, and other entertainment and travel.

My vision looking out over the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building is clear and all encompassing, just like my vision for my retirement.

Now that I’m retired, I still keep track of my monthly spending. I’ve noticed when planning for retirement it’s wise to have extra savings for healthcare and home repairs – two areas that sometimes unexpectedly run up my bills.

While my happiness is now driven more by my passions versus the paycheck, the small amounts I earn from blogging and part-time yoga teaching come in handy for what I call my “personal reinvestments” — like a special yoga training, or a blogging conference.

The amounts I earn from my yoga teaching help support my personal growth.

What Brings You Joy?
Once I looked at my finances, I was ready to tackle the rest of my retirement lifestyle. I remember five years back when my therapist asked me: “What brings you joy?” It was a great prompt to explore my interests and schedule for my second act. Taking long walks, yoga, blogging, traveling, reading, cooking, going to the beach and riding my bicycle on warm sunny days — brings me joy. Spending time with my boyfriend L, my daughter A, my son D, and my girlfriends and family members — brings me joy.

Riding a bicycle on the Oregon Trail brings me joy.

Learning new skills — brings me joy. I so enjoy my advanced yoga instructor studies at Lourdes Institute of Wholistic Studies, and sharing the benefits of what I learn with my students.

Spending time with my boyfriend L brings me joy.

Most recently, since having some health problems, I realize that I need to more clearly listen to my body. When my body signals it needs more sleep or relaxation, I need to be  mindful — and find joy in slowing down and taking time to stop, breathe, and be, instead of doing, doing, doing.

A Clear Vision for Vision Care
if you are going to do all the things you want to do when you retire, it’s important to take care of your eyes. Seeing well is important to your health and wellness at any age, especially post 50. Plus, as one who wears progressives and is also a fashionista, I consider eyewear to be a major expression of style at any age. Iris Apfel is one of my favorite fashion icons at 96 with her signature black round-rimmed glasses.

I believe eyewear makes a fashion statement at any age.

Your vision care insurance doesn’t have to retire just because you do. If your vision coverage ends post-retirement like mine did, then you may want to consider a VSP Individual Vision Plan. VSP Vision Care is the leader in eye care benefits and serves 79 million Americans through individual and group plans. Their individual vision plans include annual benefits that cover

a comprehensive eye exam
prescription lenses with covered lens enhancements like progressives
a generous allowance for frames and/or contacts
 a wide selection of brand name frames
access to the largest network of independent doctors.

Last year when I went to get eyewear at my local optician’s shop, she asked me if I had a VSP Individual Vision Plan. She told me the plans were good and I should consider them if I was looking for vision care options. I’m due to see my ophthalmologist this month and will likely need a new pair of eyeglasses, so I may opt for a VSP Individual Vision Plan this year. (I did a similar type of plan for dental care when I lost my group coverage after retirement and I’m so glad I did. It doesn’t pay for all my dental care, but for the low monthly price it’s worth it.)

For more information, go to GetVSPDirect.com or call 877-988-4746 to speak to a customer care representative to learn more and enroll. (Note, when reviewing the plans be sure to select the plan that works for your needs. For example, if you wear progressives you want to select a plan that covers that type of lenses like their Easy Options plan.)

Hope these brief tips brought more clarity to your vision for a happy retirement. So far, I’ve found that my life after 50 has been filled with great satisfaction.  I wish you a long, happy and healthy retirement (whatever retirement may look like for you), because as I said a few weeks ago when I turned 60, “the best is yet to come.”

Judi

*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post” written by me on behalf of VSP Individual Vision Plans. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The post Seeing Clearly Is The Key To A Happy Retirement appeared first on A Boomers Life After 50.

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This week is Valentine’s Day, a perfect time to take you to Petra tou Romiou in Cyprus, also know as Aphrodite’s Rock, where legend says that the Cypriot goddess of love and beauty first stepped on land after waves carried her here. This destination was part of my Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land. My boyfriend L and I traveled courtesy of Viking Cruises.

The Birthplace of Aphrodite
After leaving ports in Greece, we docked in Limassol, the historic capital of Cyprus. Cyprus is strategically located in the Eastern Mediterranean along the magnificent Aegean Sea.

A higher view of the Cyprus coast.

“We are driving to the birthplace of Aphrodite,” said our tour guide Irene as we neared Petra. “She rose out of the sea. She is the goddess of love and beauty.”

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love and beauty.

We walked under the highway and ducked our heads to get through a narrow tunnel to see the geological formation of huge rocks that anchored the shore. The area is one of the most beautiful coastlines on the island.

We walked under a tunnel to get to the beach.

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation says “the Ancient Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty – Aphrodite – was born of the sea foam. Legend tells that she rose from the waves and was escorted on a shell to this particular beach.

It is said that in certain weather conditions, the waves rise, break and form a column of water that dissolves into a pillar of foam. With imagination, this momentarily looks like an ephemeral, evanescent human shape.”

The beach is very rocky under foot.

“Myths say that if a woman swims around the rock three times she will remain young and beautiful,” Irene said. “Legends also lament that Aphrodite turned one of her lovers into a seashell because she was angry with him.” I didn’t partake in the swim, so I hope I will still be able to age gracefully into my 60s. As for the shell change, go Aphrodite, you go girl! 

Will L and I remain together now that we have visited Aphrodite’s Rock?

The beach was extremely rocky under foot. Irene encouraged us to be careful as we walked and to inspect the rocks. “Legend has it that if you find a stone in the shape of a heart, you will remain in love forever.” Many of the rocks were quite smooth and oval. I collected a few to take home for my meditation practice. Holding a rock while meditating can provide strength and focus.

Unfortunately, L and I didn’t find any heart-shaped stones — ooh, ooh, ooh, hope that doesn’t mean that our love is in jeopardy. Don’t worry L, I will never turn you into a shell! 

The Old Town of Limassol
Before reaching the Old Town of Limassol, we stopped at the 12th-century Kolossi Castle, build by the order of St. John of Jerusalem. It is three stories and remarkably well kept.

The Castle of Kolossi stands three stories tall.

Irene shared the history of the island of Cyprus, dating back to 11,000 BC. She said that the island’s culture was influenced by a variety of rulers over many years including the Greeks, Phoenicians, Byzantines, Venetians, and British.

“We have very fertile ground,” Irene said. “Good for growing grapes and making wine, olives and olive oil, figs and strawberries, oranges, grapefruits and lemons too.”

Olive oil products and oranges are two stables from Cyprus.

“Cyprus is the third largest island of the Mediterranean, with a population of 800,000,” Irene said. “A majority of the people are Greek and Turkish. A smaller minority are Russians and others are British and Armenian.”

There is new construction along the Marina.

The Limassol Marina looked like it was under construction, with condos being built by the harbor.

The Old Town of Limassol has winding streets.

We walked around Old Town, peeking in the windows and meandering through some of the shops.

Dogs wander the streets of Old Town Limassol. Can you see the dog peeking out of the door?

Cats also like to hang out around Old Town Limassol.

We stopped for lunch close to the center of town at Ousia cafe. It was a lovely place to sit outdoors and rest. L had a falafel and fatoush salad with tahini dressing and I had fried Haloumi cheese with a sesame salad. They served bread with tapenade to start. It was so good, so good, so good!

Traditional favorites for lunch include falafel and Haloumi cheese.

By 2:00 pm we were ready for our afternoon nap. We boarded the bus for a quick ride back to the Viking Star. That evening we selected the World Cafe for a buffet dinner. Each night they have a seafood feast of crabs legs, shrimp, sushi and sashimi, plus multiple entrees and desserts. We strolled around the ship and soon it was time for slumber. Tomorrow we would arrive in Israel.

Every evening there is a seafood buffet in the World Cafe on Viking Star.

Meantime, for this Valentine’s Day week I leave you with words of wisdom I found on the walls of Ousia:

Words of wisdom on the wall of Ousia cafe.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

  

Judi

P.S. In case you missed my earlier posts about my Viking Ocean Cruise, check them out below:

My First-Ever Ocean Cruise On The Luxurious “Viking Star”
My Viking Journey: A World of Ancient Treasures in Athens ”
My Viking Journey: A Visit To The Beautiful Island of Mykonos

*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” Viking Cruises provided me with a complimentary press trip on the Cities of Antiquity and Holy Lands Ocean Cruise. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The post My Viking Journey: A Visit To Cyprus & The Goddess of Love appeared first on A Boomers Life After 50.

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“Remember to take your pills after you get home from breakfast” I told my boyfriend L this past weekend. “Yep,” he replied. Mind you,  I’m such a nice girlfriend to make breakfast for L most Saturday mornings.

Thankfully, I only have to remember to take a probiotic, multi-vitamin and cranberry and turmeric supplements each morning — and sometimes I forget to take one or the other. However, when I was having lots of UTIs a few months ago, I had to take two antibiotics, one 3x/day and one 4x/day — I wrote down when I took each dose so that I would not miss any. The woes of an aging mind.

According to my friends at CVS Pharmacy: “Studies show that a third of patients do not take their medications as prescribed and nearly 50 percent of patients with chronic conditions stop taking their medications within the first year of diagnosis.” Wow-o-wow, that’s not a good way to stay healthy and happy.

CVS Pharmacy has a new innovative system to improve medication adherence.

CVS  Pharmacy Introduces New ScriptPath System To Manage Medications
Managing your medications involves many factors including getting a first prescription filled, remembering to take medications on time and understanding the directions. But never fear, the experts at CVS Pharmacy are here — with a new prescription management system called ScriptPath. Since they are my friends, they asked me to share all the details in this sponsored post. After all, that’s what friends are for! Remember, I only share information that I agree with and feel is a benefit to my readers.*

Whether you have to manage your own medications or are a caregiver to a spouse or partner, or an aging parent or relative, ScriptPath can help ease these daily demands — so definitely ask your CVS Pharmacist about it.

The ScriptPath bag provides more details about your prescription.

ScriptPath includes “the newly-released Prescription Schedule, which prominently features the patient’s prescription information with specifics such as, when and how much medicine to take, clear refill instructions and personalized notes. The sophisticated system automatically reviews all of a patient’s CVS Pharmacy medications and prescribers’ instructions, and then provides a schedule of the most effective times to take medications by separating it into four dosing times (morning, midday, evening and bedtime.)”

The ScriptPath schedule provides the best dosing times.

Additional ScriptPath offerings slated to rollout in 2018 include “a new Prescription Label, which will feature clearer directions, larger text and color-coded icons to signify different times of the day for dosing, as well as a new Prescription Overview that will include easier-to-read dosing and refill information.” (I wish some of the over-the-counter medications had larger text too. Sometimes I can’t read the dosage. How about you?)

CVS Pharmacy is rolling out a new prescription label with color-coded icons.

More Resources From CVS Pharmacy
CVS Pharmacy provides other resources that can help you stay healthy and happy. They offer pharmacist counseling, both in-person or by phone. Their research shows that “face-to-face counseling by a pharmacist is two to three times more effective at increasing patient adherence than other interventions.”

There’s also a mobile app that makes filling and refiling prescriptions easier. Patients can set up medication reminders within the app to help alert them when it’s time for their next dose.

A CVS App is available for your mobile phone.

In fact, I just dropped off my prescription for retinol at my local CVS Pharmacy after seeing my dermatologist. The pharmacy tech sends a text when my prescription is ready for pick-up, it’s so convenient.

Now for the retinol, my dermatologist did say it is drying to the skin but will help with all the bumps and age marks on my face. He removed a tiny mole on my nose and a larger one above my right eyebrow. Ooh, ooh, ooh, when he takes that smoking cauldron out to freeze off my moles it makes me a little nervous. “It will get crusty first, then your skin will be nice and smooth. Stay out of the sun though,” said doctor A.

For more information on the many resources that CVS has developed to help patients adhere to their medications and other ways to stay healthy and happy, visit CVS.com or download the CVS mobile App.

There goes my ping. Gotta go pick up my retinol. Now I just have to remember to put it on my face every night.

Judi

Disclosure: I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy to help spread the word about #BetterHealthMadeEasy, how to #FindYourHealthy and #DiscoverCVS. All opinions expressed are my own and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.

The post Managing Your Medications Is A Serious Matter appeared first on A Boomers Life After 50.

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“Where do you want to go for your 60th birthday?” asked my daughter A and son D last year when we were planning our family getaway for my milestone year. Since my birthday falls in January, I knew I wanted to go someplace warm, someplace not too far, and someplace fun. I had so enjoyed my time in Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach, Florida last January, that I decided it was a perfect spot for my 60th celebration weekend.

Pass-a-Grille has the most beautiful sunsets.

In July, we booked a large beach house on AirBnb. It had three bedrooms and three baths. My boyfriend L and I stayed upstairs in the master suite and A and D each had their own bedroom on the first level. The kitchen was fully equipped with everything you would need and there were decks off almost every room for soaking up the sun.

We rented a large house on AirBnb.

It was rather chilly during our stay but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. Thankfully, the sun was shining more days than not — so we were able to be outside most of the time even if we couldn’t wear our flip flops.

Many Reasons To Love Pass-a-Grille
There are many reasons to love Pass-a-Grille. Nestled between the gulf beaches and the bay, it’s quaint, quiet and a great place to relax. The town has cute shops and seafood cafes. There are no high-rise hotels, except for The Don CeSar, an Historic Hotel at the entrance to the island.

It’s fun to walk the beach and collect shells.

Anywhere you stay, you’re within walking distance to he beach. If you like to collect shells like I do, you’ll be pleased with the selections that the ocean waves bring to shore — just be sure to bring an empty bag for your stash. It’s also an excellent place to go birdwatching. Sit by the bay and you’ll see unique gulls perching near the fishermen. Plus, there are some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

Birdwatching is a favorite pastime in Pass-a-Grille.

It’s a short ride from Downtown St. Pete, by car, trolley or Uber, where you’ll find a vibrant city filled with an array of American and ethnic restaurants, museums and galleries, trendy boutiques and shops, and arts and entertainment. There’s also a superb Saturday Morning Market. It’s not as big as the PSU Farmer’s Market in Portland, Oregon, but I’d rank it pretty high.

There are murals, fun shops and places to eat in Downtown St. Pete, including: Hyppo for gourmet popsicles and swah-rey for desserts.

Taking In The Downtown St Pete Attractions
I was excited to show A and D the hip and cool attractions that Downtown St. Pete has to offer. L and I were glad to go back to some of our favorite places from last year and see what was new.

Salvador Dali Museum is known for its architectural design.

The nice team at St. Pete Tourism, provided me with complimentary tickets to the Chihuly Collection, a permanent collection of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s glass artwork, and the Salvador Dali Museum, featuring the artist’s paintings. Both are located in the city.

The Chihuly Collection is bedazzling!

Having missed the Chihuly exhibition at The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx last summer, I was pleased to get a chance to visit the Chihuly Collection in the heart of St. Pete’s Central Arts District. We were all in awe as we walked through the 11,000+ square feet space, which “is dedicated to showcasing Chihuly’s unique installations in intimate settings, each complementing his works of art.” I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story. Definitely go see the Chihuly Collection when in town.

The Float Boat was breathtaking.

A glass-blown garden of color.

On Saturday, we stopped by the Saturday Morning Market, held downtown at the Al Lang Field parking lot, near the harbor. It’s an outdoor market with local produce, an array of food trucks and eateries, and arts and crafts pavilions. It’s not too far from the Dal Museum, so we walked there afterward.

There are food vendors and crafts at the Saturday Morning Market.

It was my second time visiting the Salvador Dali Museum. I was happy not to miss the last weekend of the special exhibit Dali & Schiaparelli, a sensational presentation of the creative relationship and works of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and Dali. Being a fashionista, I loved, loved, loved the exhibit. A and D liked the museum too. L isn’t much of a museum person so we let him rest and have a snack in the museum cafe.

Designer Elsa Schiaparelli was inspired by Dali’s artwork.

Some of Schiaparelli’s gowns were dramatic.

Fashionistas will fall in love with the design house’s current couture collection.

An inspiring Schiaparelli quote from the exhibition.

Eating Our Way Around St. Pete
Between all the restaurants in Pass-a-Grille and Downtown St. Pete, our tummies were well fed for five days.

On Thursday, we dined at The Mill, voted by Florida Trend Magazine as the “Best New Restaurant” in Florida. We took the waiter’s recommendations and ordered Watermelon Bruschetta and Maple Butternut Squash Hummus appetizers. L and I shared Phyllo Feta Salad and Seared Diver Scallops for our main course, A had her own serving of scallops and D selected the Crispy Roast Duck. We all agreed the service was top-notch and so was the food.

The Mill is an award-winning restaurant.

Friday, I took the trio back to my favorite Bodega on Central Avenue for lunch. I was so thrilled to share the best-ever Cuban sandwiches with A and D. L knew how good they were from our last visit in 2017. We shared sandwiches, slaw, and fried plantains. It was all — so good, so good, so good! 

Bodega has the best Cuban sandwiches.

For dinner, we made reservations at Acropolis Greek Taverna. On Friday evenings, the waitstaff sings and dances and they break plates, just like a Greek taverna in Greece. There’s even a belly dancer to serenade.

At Acropolis Greek Taverna you can enjoy belly dancing with your Greek salad.

Saturday was my honorary birthday dinner. L and I had eaten at FarmTable Cucina in the Sundial Mall downtown last January and liked it so much that we wanted to return. The delicious Fried Cauliflower starter was like a work of art with finger lime, golden raisins, guanciale, sea urchin aïoli. Equally impressive was the Ragu of Wild Mushrooms and the warm olives. We were so full from our meal that we skipped the dessert menu and instead went downstairs to the Locale Market and bought a few cupcakes to take home.

The cauliflower at FarmTable Cucina is like a painting on a plate.

Other days we stayed in Pass-a-Grille, for casual dining in the town center. We had tasty salads and sandwiches with fresh grouper at Seahorse Restaurant and The Brass Monkey. One afternoon, we went to Uncle Andy’s Parlor in The Don CeSar for ice cream.

Florida grouper is a popular menu item in Pass-a-Grille.

A Beautiful Sunset Bids Us Adieu
On our last evening in St. Pete, we drove to the Grand Plaza Hotel, a beachfront resort. “The Level 11 Rooftop Lounge, is a great place to have a drink and watch the sunset,” said my friend B, who lives in St. Pete. “It’s atop the hotel.”

A perfect sunset for a St. Pete send-off.

It was a lovely way to bid adieu to my glorious 60th birthday weekend retreat with my family. “Did you like St. Pete and Pass-a-Grille?” I asked A and D. They both shook their heads affirmatively. “It was very relaxing,” D said. “I think we’ll have to plan an annual trip here,” A said. “What a wonderful idea,” I replied. “A wonderful idea.”

It’s January 31st and my 60th birthday month has come to an end. Oh, no! I think I need to celebrate all year long. This card from my boyfriend L sums up how I feel about being 60. Are you 60 yet? LMK know if you have any advice to share about this decade.

This birthday card sums up how I feel about turning 60.

Judi

The post A Fun Family Retreat To St Pete For My 60th Birthday! appeared first on A Boomers Life After 50.

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It’s so cold outside that I’m going to click my slippers three times and see if they will take me back to the beautiful Greek island of Mykonos. Join me as I reminisce about the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner and my Viking journey to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land. My boyfriend L and I traveled courtesy of Viking Cruises.*

A Tour and Taste of Mykonos
Are you ready? We just docked in sun-drenched Mykonos, the smallest of the Greek islands. Can you feel the warmth on your face? The island boasts white-washed houses, centuries-old windmills, and stunning landscapes over the blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

Mykonos is one of the most famous islands in the world.

We’re going on a tour called The Tastes of Mykonos, which includes a walking tour through a labyrinth of narrow streets, a stop at the old bakery of Gioras, and a tasting at a private organic farm and vineyard.

The owner of Vioma Organic Farm plays classical music in the vineyards and has a pet sheep.

A Famous Island For Famous People
Our tour guide Amaryllis likes to share the history of the island:

“There is a myth that Hercules threw stones in the water and that is how Mykonos got its name. ‘Mykon’ means heat of stones,” Amaryllis says.

Our guide Amaryllis is very knowledgeable about Mykonos.

“The first recorded visitors came to Mykonos in the 1890s and the first cruise ship came to Mykonos in 1920,” Amaryllis says. “Then in the 1950s and 60s, famous actresses and actors came here. Jackie Kennedy Onassis favored Mykonos as well, which helped put it on the world map. In fact, many people today still travel here by private yacht.”

It’s a picture perfect island with white-washed houses.

Amaryllis tells us that “while only 10,000 people live on the island during winter, more than two million visitors come to the island during the peak summer season. August is the busiest month.”

There are many cats on the island. Do you know that cats love feta cheese sandwiches?

The Island of The Wind
The island is most known for its beaches, with the most beautiful sand beaches on the north side.

First, we’ll walk around the main square, the only part of town that is called waterfront. We’ll follow the labyrinth streets through the neighborhoods including passages with old walls, patched roofs and bamboo strips on the ceiling. Some of the dwellings were built in the 1700 – 1800s and one spot dates back 400 years.  There are people white-washing their streets and houses. White is reflective for hot summer days. They also paint the trunks of the eucalyptus trees white to prevent resin from leaking out and attracting bugs.

The stumps of the trees are painted white to protect them from insects.

Visiting the old bakery is like a step back in time. There is rusk, a thick barley bread, piled up in the cases. “Rusk bread is baked three times and doesn’t get moldy. It’s very hard, like a biscotti” Amaryllis says. “The Greeks like it served wet, topped with fermented cheese, tomato and olive oil and paired with a cold beer.” (Sounds delicious!)

The old bakery serves Greek pastries and rusk bread with traditional toppings.

Let’s venture to Mikri Venetia, or the heart of Little Venice. It sits on one of the most romantic corners of the island. As the Viking Daily notes: “Here, rows of fishing houses with balconies are perched directly on the water and the famous thatched-roof windmills overlook the harbor.”

Time to take a picture near the popular Mykonos windmills.

The windmills were used to grind wheat and provide flour to the ships that came to the port in years past. “Mykonos has a nickname, ‘the island of the wind,'” Amaryllis says. “The winds can be so strong here.”

The Church of Panagia Paraportiani is one of the most photographed spots in Mykonos.

Before leaving town, we stop to take pictures at the Church of Panagia Paraportiani, one of the island’s most-photographed spots (according to travel writer Rick Steves). The small chapels are grouped together and form one church. Amaryllis tells us how over years the winds carrying the salt water destroyed the construction.

Sipping Wine and Sampling Greek Delicacies
Our final stop is Vioma Organic Farm and Vineyard, owned by former banker Nikos. The name of the vineyard means ‘life experience.” It is easy to see the passion that Nikos and his wife bring to their wine-making and organic gardens. They bought the land from a monastery. Nikos plays classical music around the vineyards because he says the grapes grow better.

It was fun to taste Greek delicacies and sip Greek wine.

Sipping Greek wines, eating Greek cheeses, home-grown tomatoes, and rusk bread with our fellow cruisers is a great way to end our tour.

Eating At A Greek Taverna
Lucky for us there is still time at port for L and I to dine at a traditional Greek taverna on the seaside. We share a Greek salad and chicken souvlaki. It is so good, so good, so good!

When in Mykonos one must eat authentic Greek salad and Souvlaki!

Are you warmed up yet? Can you feel the Mykonos sunshine?

More to come as we set sail for Cyprus on the Viking Star.

More to come from my days at sea on the Viking Star and a visit to Aphrodite’s Beach in Cyprus, where the goddess of love and beauty was born out of the sea.

Judi

P.S. In case you missed my earlier posts about my Viking Ocean Cruise, check it out below:

My First-Ever Ocean Cruise On The Luxurious “Viking Star”
My Viking Journey: A World of Ancient Treasures in Athens 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” Viking Cruises provided me with a complimentary press trip on the Cities of Antiquity and Holy Lands Ocean Cruise. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The post My Viking Journey: A Visit To The Beautiful Island of Mykonos appeared first on A Boomers Life After 50.

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There’s no more countdown. It’s here, it’s now. This week I’m celebrating my 60th birthday!

Looking Back On My 50s
As I get ready to tackle my next decade, I can’t help but think of all I’ve accomplished during the past 10 years. When I started blogging my year to 50, I was a newbie. I never dreamed that my 49th year would be one of the most extraordinary years of my life.  Losing my spouse at the end of 2007 turned my world upside down. The grief and loneliness I felt during that period was overwhelming. But thanks to the support and love from family and friends, I came through that period and I’m here to say it’s now lovely on the other side.

Many of you, my dear readers, have shared my life after 50 transformation journey with me. From losing my spouse, to selling my house, to emptying out my nest, it’s been a wild ride. From buying my condo on the corner at the Jersey shore, to mastering online dating and meeting my boyfriend L, to leaving my full-time job and saying good-bye to my mom, I’ve weathered ups and downs along the way.

Oh yes, yes, yes, how could I forget creating an award-winning blog and becoming a yoga instructor too. It’s been nice to be able to pursue my passions instead of a paycheck since retiring from my full-time corporate career.

It’s time to celebrate my 60th birthday!

Looking Ahead To My 60s
Pondering my 60s, I wonder what life has in store for me during the next 10 years. Sometimes I wish I could look into a crystal ball and ask. Other times I want to be surprised.

My new journal says it all!

When Oprah turned 60 a few years ago, she said, “We go through life discovering the truth about who we are and determining who has earned the right to share the personal space within our heart.”

These words ring especially true for me. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to celebrate my 60th birthday with several of my close girlfriends. Many of them were at my 50th celebration. I feel blessed to have such incredible long-term friendships with such talented, caring women. These women “share a personal space within my heart.” So do my long-distance girlfriends who could not be there, my daughter A and son D, my boyfriend L, my sister N, and other family members. My late husband M is always tucked inside my heart as well.

My close girlfriends helped me celebrate my 60th birthday.

From Grief To Gratitude
“One thing I know for sure,” stealing another phrase from Queen Oprah, is that I am so grateful for all that I have and all that I am able do at this point in my life.

Ten years ago, my grief was piercing after losing my husband. It was scary navigating so much change. People ask me, how did you do it? How did you make all those changes?

It wasn’t easy. Sometimes it was day by day. Other times, it was hour by hour or even minute by minute. I learned to ask for help. My mindfulness and yoga practices taught me how to live more in the present and continue to guide me today.

With time, my loneliness turned to loveliness and grief to gratitude. Catherine Price, author of Gratitude – A Journal, says that “People who actively try to become more grateful in their everyday lives are happier – not to mention – healthier – than those who don’t.” Catherine recommends journaling and says: “Learning to refocus your mind toward happiness is a long process and can have its frustrations as well as its joys.” She says not to feel guilty or beat yourself up if you have down days.

I’m grateful for my beautiful birthday bouquets.

I also encourage you to read The New York Times journalist John Leland’s interviews with six people 85+, which he says is “one of the fastest-growing age groups in the country.”  In his essay, “When Old News Is Good News,” he says about his interviewees, “The six became models for challenges in my own life, living examples of resilience, gratitude and the wisdom that comes from living through ups and downs in history. Even amid the very real hardships of old age, all found reasons or opportunities to be happy.”

Facing New Challenges
The final few months of 2017 brought new challenges for me and proved that the only thing in life that is constant is change:

Despite my new challenges, I’m happy and it’s going to be okay.

My son D went through tough times and ended his engagement. He wasn’t ready to get married. He was bold and brave and made the right decision to breakup with his fiancee. He and our families are healing now. And my daughter A accepted a promotion with a move to Minneapolis the end of this month. I’m going to miss her being close by but am excited for her adventure. I am so proud of both of them.

On December 29th, after surgery to remove a tumor from my bladder, I learned I had bladder cancer. Not something I had planned for going into my 60th year. The good news is the cancer was non-invasive. The bad news is it can come back. My life is forever changed.

As my BFF L said in her card, “Cancer messed with the wrong chick.” More to share on this topic, but I’m not ready to let it be the lead story, not right now, and hoping not ever. For now, it’s an interruption that I have to deal with and will. However, I could not hide this from you. Since I know you have been there for me before and will be there for me again as I face new battles.

And finally, my sister N lost her husband after a long illness. She and her son N have much grief to process in the coming months and years. I’m glad I can be a support to her and let her know that there are happier days to come.

“Right now, are you happy?”
In his essay, John Leland says that “Happiness Is A Choice You Make.” and quotes one of his interviewees, Fred Jones, who says, “If you’re not happy at the present time then you’re not happy. Some people say, if I get that new fur coat for the winter, or get myself a new automobile, I’ll be happy then. But you don’t know what’s going to happen by that time. Right now, are you happy?”

How would you answer that question?

“Right now are you happy?”

Despite the setbacks at the end of 2017, I have to say that yes, right now I am happy. What about you?

I’m a woman of multiple names. Judy is my real name and Judi is my pen name.

Yesterday at my 60th celebration, I blew out a candle and made a wish. I’m a woman of many names. My real name is Judy with a “y’ and my pen name is Judi with an “i.” I made a wish for both Judy and Judi.

Thanks for your readership and friendship. I look forward to sharing the next 10 years with you on my blog.

The best is yet to come!

Love,

Judi

The post The Best Is Yet To Come: Celebrating My 60th Birthday! appeared first on A Boomers Life After 50.

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It was day two on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner on my Viking journey to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* Our first port of call was Piraeus, one of the biggest ports in Europe and the third largest in the world.

After a delicious buffet breakfast at World Cafe, one of the Viking Star restaurants, we boarded the coach destined for Greece’s Capital. We would have a panoramic tour of Athens and then visit the National Archaeological Museum, which travel writer Rick Steves says, “is far and away the top ancient Greek art collection anywhere…and is a great way to begin or finish off your sightseeing through Greece.”

Port Piraeus in Greece is one of the largest in the world.

A Lesson in Greek Philosophy and Mythology
Our leader Vessia was a professionally trained guide of the country and told us about the special school she went to in Greece to become a tour guide. She had an incredible knowledge of Greek history, language, culture and philosophy and was eager to share.

Our guide Vessia had special training in all facets of ancient and present day Greece.

She explained how different words stem from the Greek language. “You are speaking Greek but you don’t realize it,” Vessia said. “For example, Acropolis means the highest point or extremity. Acrophobia means an extreme phobia. That’s why you say ‘it’s all Greek to me!'”

The Acropolis sits high up on a hill.

She described the Greek philosophy. “We believe everything in life is moving. It is changing,” Vessia said. “It starts with the river, the river becomes the clouds. Then the clouds get full and rain and the clouds become the river. Everything is changing. Life is a series of ups and downs.”

It was interesting to learn about Greek mythology. “Athena is one of the goddesses. Athena was born from her father’s head. Her father was the god Zeus. That’s why she became the goddess of wisdom,” Vessia said. “She wears a helmet. Athena had shiny blue eyes like an owl. The owl can see in the dark and is the symbol of Greece. The blue eye is for good luck.” Vessia also noted that the snake is the Greek symbol of health.

The wise owl is the symbol of Greece.

Our coach made a stop so we could view the Acropolis and Parthenon. I didn’t miss the more extended tour as I had climbed to the top of the Acropolis when I visited Greece in June. (You can read my post here.) We walked around town smelling citrus and mulberry trees, which are ornaments of the city. Then we drove to see the Olympic Stadium and the Marathon Runner sculpture made of glass and iron.

The Olympic Stadium seats 65,000.

Of course, Nike originated in Greece. “Nike means victory,” Vessia said. “The Nike is young because she is always flying. No one is forever the winner or you will become arrogant. So, she wins, she flies, she loses and then she wins again. Everyone deserves a victory.” (I like the Greek way of thinking!)

Fragrant citrus trees line Athens’ city streets.

Stepping Back In Time At The National Archeological Museum
I was glad that the National Archeological Museum was on our schedule. I had not seen that  particular museum during my previous time in Athens. The museum has more than 11,000 exhibits, and provides an overview of Greek civilization from the beginnings of Prehistory to Late Antiquity.

A statue of the god Zeus stands in great stride at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Vessia walked us through the exhibits. It was eye-opening to learn about Greek lore and history through sculptures and artifacts:

♥ There were weapons made of bronze and some made of iron. Vessia said. “When there was a war between bronze and iron, iron is much stronger and everything was destroyed.”

♥ There were Greek statues from the 8th century B.C. “The Greek statues have their left leg to the front. It represents a positive expression of always moving forward,” Vessia said.

Just like the statues of ancient Greece, I’m putting my left foot forward.

♥ There were funeral urns and monuments. “Death for Greeks is important. It is part of life,” Vessia said. The urns were built with a hole in the bottom for the liquids to go into the earth. It was for rebirth. In fact, Vessia said that “for Greeks you are born innocent. When you wake up spiritually you are alive.”

Ancient Greeks built monuments for the dead. The woman sitting is giving up her jewelry now that she has passed on.

♥ There were Greek bridal trinkets. Vessia commented on the brain and how it relates to wedding postures. It reminded me of my lessons from yoga training. “The left hemisphere of the brain affects the right side – our male side of the body. The right hemisphere affects the left or feminine side of the body,” she said. “The bride always stands on the left side of the groom, because his left side needs the support of the body. The right side needs to be open to be creative. God took the left side of the body of Adam to create Eve.”

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love.

♥ We learned about the two positions of Greek praying. “One is asking for things,” Vessia said. “The other is thanking for getting things.”

♥ We saw the stone tablets and the Antikythera mechanism, which was the first computer of the world. (Wonder what ancient Greeks would have thought of the iPad?)

The Antikythera mechanism was the world’s first computer.

Greek Food On The Menu
It had been an educational experience learning about ancient Athens and how its history applies to so many aspects of life today. By the afternoon, we were ready to go back to the Viking Star. Dinner at The Restaurant featured Greek food. I especially enjoyed my baklava dessert that night.

Dinner at The Restaurant on board Viking Star featured Greek food while in Athens.

Next my Viking journey would take us to Mykonos, the smallest of the Greek isles, where we would partake in a tour and tasting of its specialties.

See you there soon.

Judi

Note: Unfortunately, my comment platform is under maintenance right now. Please come back again if you would like to comment.

P.S. In case you missed my earlier post about my Viking Ocean Cruise, check it out below:

My First-Ever Ocean Cruise On The Luxurious “Viking Star”

*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” Viking Cruises provided me with a complimentary press trip on the Cities of Antiquity and Holy Lands Ocean Cruise. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The post My Viking Journey: A World of Ancient Treasures in Athens appeared first on A Boomers Life After 50.

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Are you ready? It’s time to embark, as I share highlights from my journey aboard my first-ever ocean cruise on the luxurious Viking Star. It was a “star-studded” 15-days traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* My lucky, lucky boyfriend L was my companion for the trip.

Our voyage on the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land took us to Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Italy. During the two weeks, we spent time exploring the cities of Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, Limassol, Naples, Rome and visiting the holy land in Jerusalem. (Note: We missed visiting Crete due to weather conditions.)

Our Viking Ocean Cruise took us to Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Italy.

An Elegant Vessel For Ocean Cruising
Having been on two previous Viking River Cruises — on the Douro in Portugal and on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland — I was familiar with Viking Longships. With its Ocean Cruises, as they say, Viking has taken “that same small ship, destination-focus experience to the seas with an elegant fleet of vessels setting sail in Scandinavia and Baltic, the Mediterranean, North America and the Caribbean.” The ocean itineraries have been carefully designed to access the best destinations up close, with more time in the port than other cruise lines.

Viking Star is an elegant ocean liner designed for small ship destination cruising.

Accolades Galore For Viking Star
With Viking, I knew our ship, the Viking Star, was going to be special. Viking was named a #1 Ocean Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards 2017 and 2016. Plus, Cruise Critic editors honored Viking Ocean Cruises with two awards in 2016: “Best Luxury Cruise Line for Value” and “Best Luxury Cruise Line Spa,” (Ooh, ooh, ooh, wait until I tell you about my treatments at the spa. I had to try a massage and facial. It was part of my duties as a blogger. Did I say I love my life? I do. I do.)

The spa has a relaxing warm water pool with jets.

Cruise Critic editors also selected Viking Star as the “Best New Ocean Ship” of 2015, noting “the ship is so beautifully designed—with terrific al fresco restaurants, a beautiful pool area, a superb spa and the two-level Explorers’ observation lounge—that you’ll be hard-pressed to go ashore.”  (We spent three days at sea and it was so relaxing to walk around the deck and sit on lounges looking out over the Aegean Sea.)

We enjoyed walking around the deck on days at sea.

Likewise, Viking Star was named Fodor’s Travel “World’s Best Cruises for 2016.” and Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships Guide, “considered to be the bible of cruise ship guidebooks,” rated Viking Star, highest in her category in 2016.

Sitting on lounges overlooking the Aegean Sea was meditative on days at sea.

Can you see why I was so excited to travel on my first-ever ocean cruise on Viking Star? Did it win me over? Did it win over my boyfriend L? Absolutely. so much so that I have to say it again in the native tougue from each of the countries we visited: απολύτως (Greek), בהחלט (Hebrew), assolutamente (Italian).

A Trip of A Lifetime
Unlike other large ocean liners that have thousands of passengers, the Viking Star is classified as a small ocean liner at 745 feet in length. It houses 930 guests and 500 staff.  That’s about one staff member for every two guests — delivering outstanding service from cabin rooms to the concierge.

Viking Cruises has a higher staff to guest ratio than its competitors.

Another perk is that every stateroom has a private veranda. The rooms are spacious, with king-size beds, large showers, LCD TVs, bathrobes and slippers, and a desk with a makeup mirror that pops up. (Note: any room that has bathrobes gets an A+ rating in my book. Ooh, ooh, ooh, and there is a self-service launderette with washers – with soap suds built in – and dryers. How convenient is that?)

Viking Star staterooms are spacious with king-size beds, large bathrooms and private verandas. They also have nice sitting areas around the ship.

Wow-o-wow!  With this level of service and comfort, I felt certain our Viking Ocean Cruise would be a trip of a lifetime.

What do you think? Do you want to join me? Are you ready to book a Viking Ocean Cruise yet? Get your piggy banks out now because this is an ocean cruise worth saving your pennies and dollars for. Guaranteed you’ll want to book your trip when I’m done with my blog posts. (Note: There are 2-for-1 cruise deals with up to $1000 off airfare if you book a Viking Ocean Cruise before December 31, 2017.)

So Much To Show and Tell
There’s more to come:

♥ I’ll be kicking off my next post with details about our panoramic tour of Athens and its National Archeological Museum.

A bronze statue of the god Zeus stands in great stride at Athens’ National Archaeological Museum.

♥ Next, you’ll hear about the fresh bounty of the Greek Isle of Mykonos and our drive on the glorious coast of Limassol to see Petra tou Romiou, Aphrodite’s Rock, where it is said that the Greek Goddess of Beauty and Love first stepped on land.

Aphrodite’s Rock on the coast of Cyprus is a romantic spot.

♥ From there we’ll go to Israel, where I’ll share my first-ever visit to Jerusalem and praying at the Western Wall. There’s more to tell about Israel from Haifa, including a kibbutz visit, Acres Bah Gardens, and the stunning beauty of the rock formations at Rosh Hanikra National Park, the only point in Israel where the sea meets the cliff.

Praying with other women at the Western Wall in Jerusalem was a memorable experience.

♥ Finally we’ll sail to Italy with stops in Naples and a full day of sight-seeing in my beloved of all Italian cities, Rome.

It’s picture perfect at the Piazza Navona in Rome.

Oh yes, there’s the ship too. I’m going to take you inside the galley to meet the executive chef, give you a peek at the restaurants – from Mamsen’s Norwegian snacks and light fare to The World Cafe’s bountiful buffets and The Restaurant, Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant and The Chef’s Table, all fine dining establishments.  With food service fit for a queen and her king, spa treatments to soothe my dry skin and sore muscles, and veranda views of sunrises and sunsets over the blue waters, I brought home memories galore to savor and share.

Daily dining includes home-baked pastries, homemade gelato, fresh fish and bountiful buffets.

The best part, L and I didn’t have any sea sickness. So you know what that means? We can go on more ocean cruises during our life after 50. Hear that L? When’s our next cruise?

Meantime, see you soon for a panoramic tour of Athens. I leave you with a Hávamál Viking Proverb:

“He is truly wise who has traveled far and knows the ways of the world.”

Judi

*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” Viking Cruises provided me with a complimentary press trip on the Cities of Antiquity and Holy Lands Ocean Cruise. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The post My First-Ever Ocean Cruise On The Luxurious “Viking Star” appeared first on A Boomers Life After 50.

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“It’s December and the holiday season is in full swing. As your jolly CVS Pharmacy Ambassador*, I’m here to remind you about ways to stay healthy and happy so you can enjoy this month’s festivities and celebrations.

Did You Get Your Flu Shot?
My boyfriend L and I got our flu shots back in October at our local CVS MinuteClinic. According to the experts at CVS, “Getting a flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from catching the flu.”

If you didn’t get your vaccine, you can still get one at CVS’ 9,600 retail pharmacy locations and more than 1,100 walk-in MinuteClinics. The MinuteClinics are open every day, including evenings and weekends, with no appointment needed.

You can get your flu shot at CVS MinuteClinics across the country.

If you do happen to catch the flu, CVS can be a helpful resource. For example, with the CVS Pharmacy mobile app, you can shop via the app, place an order and have it delivered right to your car door with CVS Curbside pickup! This is especially nice when you’re not feeling well.

What About Other Immunizations?
In addition to the flu vaccine, it is important to make sure all your common immunizations are up to date before heading off to a crowded gathering. The CDC says to get the pneumonia vaccine if you are 65+ and the shingles vaccine for those 60+.

Ooh, ooh, ooh, that will include me, me, me next month! I’m going to check out the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix®, that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) says it prefers for healthy adults aged 50 years and older to prevent shingles and related complications.

Take Care When You Travel
Are you traveling overseas during the holidays? I went to the MinuteClinic before I left for my Viking Ocean Cruise last month. The Nurse Practitioner Karen prescribed medicine for motion sickness, which luckily neither L nor I needed on our voyage. (Stay tuned for my posts about my travels coming soon.) 

Before going on an ocean cruise, I went to the MinuteClinic to get medicine for motion sickness.

Are you traveling out of town during the holidays? With the CVS Pharmacy App you’re able to quickly and easily transfer prescriptions to a CVS location nearest you if you forgot your medication.

Health Tips For The Holiday Season
The experts at CVS provided some additional suggestions for staying healthy when your world gets fast-paced:

♥ Get Your Z’s: Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. While this can be difficult during the holidays, it’s important to give your body time to recover from all it’s done during the day. Sleep can help revamp your immune system.

I’ve been using the Melatonin tablets that I received in my package from the CVS team. I take a pill about an hour before I go to sleep. The pills help me fall asleep — unfortunately if I’m having a bad menopausal night, they don’t help me stay asleep. These days, I’m glad for any extra sleep I can get in the night hours. (Note: Check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter sleep aids.)

CVS Pharmacy offers CVS branded OTC products for colds and flu. I use CVS Melatonin supplements to help me fall asleep.

♥ Don’t overindulge: While food is a major component in many holiday plans, it is important to be cognizant of the kinds of foods you’re eating. You can still eat that pie you’ve been dreaming about, but be sure to also add in some fruits and vegetables to balance out a nutritious diet.

Protect yourself from illness: During the holidays, people tend to be closer in proximity to others—celebrating in a busy home with people coming and going or even stuck on a plane surrounded by people who may have coughs and sniffles. Again, take the necessary precautions like getting vaccinated to protect yourself from illness.

Also beware of those who go to work when they are sick. In a recent article in The New York Times, Dr. Pritish K. Tosh, an infectious diseases researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, suggests “people stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours.” In addition, to eliminate the risk of infecting others, Dr. Tosh says, “avoid physical contact with other people, especially shaking hands, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, and wipe surfaces down after touching them.”

Tips For Staying Happy During The Holiday Season
I wanted to give you some tips on how I plan to stay happy this month. These simple tips work for me and maybe they will work for you.

Buy flowers for yourself. I bought an inexpensive bouquet of yellow roses this week at the supermarket and put them in a vase on my kitchen table. Flowers make me happy.

Treating myself to flowers makes me happy.

Take time to meditate. Taking 5 or 10 minutes each day to meditate can have a lasting effect and help calm the nervous system. I like Kelly Howell’s meditations from the BrainSync MeditateMe app. My kids use the Headspace app for their meditations. I’ve heard the Calm app is good too. Meditating makes me happy.

Take time to meditate each day. Even a few minutes may make you calmer and happier during the holiday season.

Brew a cup of chamomile tea. After a long day, I like to relax with a cup of chamomile tea each evening. Tea time makes me happy.

Soak in a warm bath with epsom salts. I LOVE my new soaking tub. I sprinkle epsom salts in my bath water and scent the salts with lavender oil. Only issue is I LOVE my baths so much that my skin is starting to dry out. So I bought some lavender skin cream to use after the bath. Lavender and epsom salt baths make me happy.

I love to take baths, especially with lavender scented epsom salts.

How do you stay healthy and happy during the holiday season? Share a tip so others can benefit from your wisdom.

I leave you with a favorite quote from a small sachet pillow I keep in my home. I think it’s especially fitting for this time of year when you may might want to over indulge. It says:

“Remember the little things,
for one day you may look back and
realize they were the big things.”

Cheers to your health and happiness!

Judi

* Disclosure: I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy for their 2017 influencer relations program. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.

The post Stay Healthy and Happy This Holiday Season appeared first on A Boomers Life After 50.

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Each year, I save a list of favorites from my visit to the NY NOW Show – The Market for Lifestyle, Home + Gift – held at the Javits Center in New York City in August — to share with you during the holiday season. I’ve included items only where I know you can purchase them online.

Is my 2017 gift guide as good as Oprah’s? You decide!

IIf you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, perhaps you’ll find an idea for the perfect gift for a loved one or maybe a treat for yourself. Plus read down all the way to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway. I’m giving away a handmade Makeup Junkie Bag filled with Send These – a set of 20 postcards with positive attitude from Compendium, and a Spongelle Rose Body Buffer.

Enter my holiday gift giveaway via the Rafflecopter below.

For Those Who Like Inspiring Jewelry
♥ The b.u. collection of simple, handmade necklaces, bracelets, and earrings feature charms so you can, as they say “wear your hopes and dreams, a symbol of empowerment or good luck around you. This jewelry inspires that you b.u.

b.u. jewelry encourages you to b.u.

♥ When you wear Dogeared jewelry perhaps it will spur good things to happen. Dogeared jewels “embrace the stories, happy moments, milestones and experiences that celebrate, connect and inspire. Each piece tells a story of individuality, self-expression, love, and friendship.” Yogis may especially like the mandalas and mystical selections.

Dogeared jewelry has introduced a variety of new collections for the holiday season.

Jewelry by Viki is handmade in Portland, Oregon (if you read my blog posts about my visit to Portland you know how much I adore this city). Viki uses recycled precious metals and natural stones to create artisan jewelry. Each piece is carefully designed to express a love of nature with abstract leaf shapes and earth toned colors.

Viki’s jewelry features natural stones.

♥ According to the creators of Moonglow jewelry, “every moment has a moon and gives us an opportunity to share our lives and dreams with those we love.” With the Moonphase calculator, you can create a piece of personalized jewelry that showcases a moon phase that aligns with your birthday or another special day.

I learned that my moon phase personality is Waxing Gibbons, known to be “one of the best lunar phases to give spiritual evolution a boost, those born under the influence of this moon phase are quick thinkers and grand philosophers that desire to seek out the meaning in life. They have a natural talent for communication and self-expression and love to analyze everything to come up with solutions that benefit everyone.” I think I may have to customize a piece of jewelry for my lunar spirituality.

Moonglow jewelry can be personalized for your moon phase.

♥ With Roots homegrown jewelry is designed by Brooklyn-based, female entrepreneur Sharon Goldberg. Each piece features a tiny terrarium with real plants living inside. How cool is that?

With Roots you can wear a terrarium around your neck.

For Those Who Can Never Have Too Many Handbags Or Purses
Rayerbag is a felt bag manufacturer born in Barcelona. Colorful and unique, these  tailored bags are works of art. You will definitely stand out carrying a Rayerbag. (Note: The prices are in euros and shipping to the USA is more expensive.)

Rayerbag handbags are made of colorful felt.

♥ “Live beautifully” is the motto of Matt and Nat, a line of non-leather bags and shoes from Montreal. Matt derives from the word “Material” and Nat from “Nature.” Highly sustainable, the authentic brand uses no animal-based products and has experimented with recycled materials such as recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber and cork.

Matt & Nat make vegan handbags, shoes and accessories.

Stitch and Tickle handbags are created by another female entrepreneur, Sophie Truong. These bags are made from fine leather, crafted one by one in her Boston studio. On the pricey side, the designs are classic and timeless so the bags will last many years.

Kempton & Co. is another high-end collection of bags that exhibited at NY NOW. They had some really cool handbags. Owner Fiona Kempton designs bags with gorgeous soft leathers and textiles, combining the utility of equestrian hardware.

Stitch and Tickle handbags are made of fine leather.

Baggallini handbags are convenient for travel. I bought one of the crossbody bags. The bags have inside and outside zippers and pockets to stash mobile phones, tissues, wallets, and glasses. They are also lightweight so they don’t weigh you down, even after you pack the bags with lots of stuff.

Equally good for travel are Makeup Junkie Bags, the perfect cosmetic bag that lays flat on a surface, and has an elongated medial zipper that allows the bag to gape open allowing easy access to all your makeup. Each bag is characterized by a signature brightly colored zipper and suede tassel. (Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a Makeup Junkie Bag.)

Baggalini bags are great for traveling.

Makeup Junkie Bags lie flat on the counter.

For Those Who Want To Add To Their Wardrobe
♥ Being a yogi, I find comfort in athleisure wear. That’s why I was attracted to angelrox clothing made in the USA from sumptuous and sustainable organic cotton and bamboo rayon knits. The full collection comes in an array of signature colors inspired by Mother Earth. Equally appealing are Maggie’s Organics tunics, leggings, and wraps made with super soft 100% organic cotton and  Umsteigen hand screen printed bamboo and cotton tees and tops.

Angelrox athleisure wear is comfortable for yoga.

Maggie’s Organics are made of natural fibers.

Umteigen tees and tops are screened with scenes of nature.

Baik Baik boleros come in a rainbow of colors. These lightweight coverups are nice for traveling or summer evenings when you want to throw on a little sweater.

Baik Baik boleros come in a rainbow of colors.

♥ Even though I rarely sleep due to my menopausal insomnia, I do like soft and comfy MunkiMunki pjs. As their website says, “Munki Munki pajamas were born from a love of comfort and kitsch. They are enhanced with whimsical prints that invoke a spirit of simplicity and charm to delight both the young, and the young at heart.”

Munki Munki pjs are a good reason to stay in bed.

For The Writers and Creatives Among Us (Or Those Who Wanna Be)
Compendium makes a variety of motivational gift books, journals, and notecards. I like the journal with the Audrey Hepburn’s quote on the cover, “Paris Is Always A Good Idea,” and The 5 Book, a guide for setting goals for potential retirement or your life after 50.

Compendium sells journals and other gifts to inspire you.

Batle Studio makes intricately detailed, functional art objects formed in graphite for a unique desktop gift. It writes like a pencil but won’t stain your hands. The left and right hand design is so clever. You can buy a paper roll tray to go with the writer too.

This graphite sculpture and pad set is functional artwork for a desktop.

♥ Éccolo makes inexpensive leather journals with inspirational sayings on the cover. You can find them at Target or Staples. The travel journals sold on Amazon or Ebay are fun to take on a trip to capture all your moments from your vacation.

Travel journals make great gifts for the adventurers in your life.

For The Grand Babies or Grand Doggies
♥ These Maileg Danish dolls and mini accessories for the dolls from Maileg are so adorable. If I had a grand daughter I would definitely add them to her gift basket. Same for Dumye dolls with a purpose. As Dumye says, “We handcraft limited edition, eco-friendly rag dolls that you can personalize. For every doll you purchase, we gift a doll to one of the millions of orphaned children around the world.”

Maileg makes the cutest little gifts for grandkids,

Dumye dolls are dolls with a purpose.

♥ If I had a grand doggie, which I don’t have (yet), I’d buy one of these colorful and sturdy collars or leashes from Found My Animal. The Brooklyn duo who created the line of doggie gear encourages people to adopt rescue dogs.

These doggie gifts encourage people to adopt rescue pets.

Enter My Gift-Giving Giveaway
Leave a comment about your favorite gifts to give or receive and enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for a  Makeup Junkie Bag filled with a Spongelle..

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