Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fifty may be the new forty, but it's a full time job.

I'm going to be...ehem...celebrating my fifty-fifth birthday this coming December, and that means there is no more denying it...I will have to admit that I am in my mid-fities. No more will I be able to cling to the "early-fifties" title, and, truth be told, I am pretty okay with it, for the most part. 

I mean, life is good these days. I like my job, and I focus on doing what makes me happiest. Where I am having a bit of a struggle is in the area of health, wellness, fashion, and fitness. That is to say,I am at times caught off guard by that girl I see looking back at me in the mirror.

One of my best girlfriends told me recently that this is the age when we should start adding a couple of years to our ages when asked, so people are impressed at just how good we look for our age.(She has coined the term " Plus 2" for this and claims it works great for age or clothing sizes...)

Yes, the place where things most dramatically change as we enter and progress though our It's our appearance, and our health.

Oh, and maybe a little bit of our short term memory. I find myself wondering why I came into a room in the house and have to retrace my steps back to the point I started at so that I might be able to remember why it was I had gone to the other room in the first place.

Now, where was I? (Let me go back and re-read what I wrote so that I can remember....)

Ehem...As I was saying, the older we get, the more obvious the extreme differences are in appearance and health in our age group. There are women in their 50's that remind me of Opey's Aunt Bee..
 and, at the opposite end of the spectrum,there are lady cougars like those gals on the Real Housewives of the O.C.
Trust me here, I live in the real world a pretty good portion of my day, and I know I am not going to achieve the Real Housewife status of outward beauty, but I also can assure you that I do not aspire to be anyone's Aunt Bee.(God bless Francis Bavier, I am sure she was a wonderful gal. I just don't wanna look like her.)

This being said, it ain't easy trying to be cute morning, noon and night, at this stage of life. It takes more time and effort to maintain...everything.

Manufacturers are more than happy to come to our aid with a massive assortment of creams and lotions, procedures, and various little hand held machines all designed to help us look our optimal best. I for one am an easy target for these items, since I am an eternal optimist and believe in miracles. (If only I could find the time to use all of this stuff. Poor, poor Jillian Michaels stares a disapproving hole through me from her DVD case each morning as I run around getting ready for work, promising her that tomorrow I will make time for her, really, truly, I will.) 

I am enjoying the freedom that comes with being the age I am,however I have to admit that I am slightly time management challenged. (Either that or I need an additional three hours in my day so as to be able to use things like the supposedly incredible little face machine.)

That, coupled with the fact that I haven't found an exercise activity I love, or at the very least, don't dread.(Never say never, 'coz the next sport I'd like to give a try at is golf...and it just might be "my thing". We'll see.)

Then, there is the issue of age appropriate fashion. I want to look "hip" (oh Gawd, does that word date me?)but I don't want to look like I'm trying to be twenty four.

I guess you can see by my seemingly mindless rambling on this topic of attempting to age gracefully (and trying my best to stay active...and cute, at the same time.)that this has been weighing heavily on my mind of late. It occurred to me that if I am obsessing thinking about it, maybe many of my ...ehem...similarly aged girl pals online here may be spending a fair amount of time pondering it as well. 

That made me think of Cindy...and I am sure you know Cindy. (Let me interject right here that I am pea green with envy over Cindy's fit and fabulous upper arms, and I am dying to know her secret. I only pray that her secret isn't being born with good genes.)

Cindy and I have been online friends since...when? 2006 I think. We actually met in person a couple of times at fairs. (and wouldn't you know it, neither of us had the foresight to get a picture of us together either time!)It turns out that she lives very near my Dad, so I am sure next time I make my way to northern California, we will try and connect again.
Now, Cindy is a few years younger than me, but still in her oh-let's-make-them-fabulous fifties. (She's even got a new blog dedicated to this very topic!Check it out right here.) She has recently discovered mountain biking, hiking, and ...gasp!....Fitness Bootcamp. 

Here is a girl that can share some real insight for all of us on how to go for the golden ring and make the most of our age, whether it be thirty one, or fifty five...or seventy eight. Thinking about Cindy gave me the brilliant idea to interview her and get her perspective on things.

Cindy has some great information, insight, and inspiration for us all. So...without further adieu, let's get this party started, shall we?
me:Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Cindy! You know we have a lot in common. We're both single girls in our 50's who love to decorate, cook, blog and who knows what all else. What has been the biggest surprise for you as you enter your fabulous fifties? 
50 and fabulous Cindy:The biggest surprise is that I like it, I'm actually enjoying it!  I still don't feel 50 and I'm about to turn 51 in September!   This sounds so cliche but I've realized that it's all in how you look at have a can be depressed that you're 50 or you can enjoy it!  I remember when I turned 40, I woke up that morning and cried!  That seems so silly now, 40 is so young! When I turn 60 I want to look back and say "Wow, my fifties were some of the best years of my life"  It's all about your attitude and we are the ones in control of our own attitude! 

me: I've gotta say that I love your attitude Cindy. You've got it right. What sparked the inspiration in you to become more physically active?  
50 and fabulous Cindy:The fear of being "over the hill" is what did it.  You see two types of people over fifty; the type that slows down and grows old or the type that is fit and active and although they are still 50 they look amazing.  I used to look at the second type and wish I could be like them.  It was sort of a "light-bulb moment" for me.  I realized I could be that type of person...I just had to do it!!!   It's more work but it can be done. I'm still not where I want to be but I'm in a much better place than I was when I weighed 50+ lbs more and got no exercise!  Also, I saw my mom's health deteriorate over the last 25 years because she wasn't active. My mom passed away this year and it was very hard on me. I really realized how important it is to stay active as we get older! If you want quality-of-life in the later years, you have to use those muscles!
me: Yup, it's that Aunt Bee or Real Housewife of the O.C. thing all over again. You know what they say..."use it or lose it". I guess that's true of everything.

How did you end up getting into hiking, and bike riding? (Did you join a club? Was it suggested by a friend?) What's your current favorite sports or fitness activity?   

50 and fabulous Cindy:I hiked with friends a little but it was hard to get our schedules in sync and I knew I needed to do it on a more regular basis.  I went to There are so many different groups you can join there!  I found numerous hiking groups and joined one of them. On my first hike with that group I met a woman that ran her own hiking group with her husband. She gave me her email address and I've been hiking with their group ever since!  We hike 8-14 miles every Saturday morning! It takes up 1/2 of my Saturday but the results are worth it. My legs haven't been this firm since I was in my 20s!  As far as biking...that was a little more scary for me. I hadn't rode a bicycle in years but I started dating someone that was really into mountain biking so I gave it a try and I was surprised how much I liked it!  It's really hard to pick a favorite because I enjoy doing both of them! Since they both use different muscles I plan on continuing with both. 
me:That's awesome.I guess it's all about trying different things out, and finding something you really enjoy.Meetup is a very cool thing too, and it's everywhere! 

Speaking of enjoying an activity...Tell us about Fitness Bootcamp....(is it as scary as it sounds?!)   

50 and fabulous Cindy:No, it's not as scary as it sounds! They don't scream at you...they let you go at your own pace. There are people of all ages and fitness levels there.  I did a trial offer through It's only for 1 month. It's rather pricey so I'm not sure if I will continue once my one-month trial is up.  It's Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:15 am. and have some great deals for many things. I just saw one in my area for Zumba lessons so I may try that soon!  
me: The coupon sites are great things too! I love how you are trying things out in all sorts of different areas...that's how we find out of we really like an activity, after all.

Since I myself am just about to hit the big five-five, I know turning 50 beats the alternative, do you really feel about entering your fifties? 
50 and fabulous Cindy:Tracey, you look amazing and you certainly don't look like you are about to turn 55! 
 (Thanks so much, but I feel the need to jump in here to also add that after 50 our eyesight seems to take a nose dive as Cindy has clearly demonstrated...) Honestly I wish I was in my 30s but I'm not. I think it's important to feel the best at whatever age you are.  The one thing I do like about this age is the wisdom that comes from all those years of life experience.  I would 't trade that for anything!
me: Hmmm, I am not so sure I feel like I am the wisest woman out there sometimes, seriously. I guess I am wiser (more wise?) than I was at 30 though, now that I think on it. What would you say is your best gotta-do-everyday beauty tip?  

50 and fabulous Cindy:I make sure I wash my face really well every night before I go to bed!  I actually wash and rinse my face 4 times to make sure I get all my make-up off.  If I miss just one night of doing this ritual I can tell a difference in my skin!   

me: Wow, four times? (I am now wondering if I am cleaning my face well enough.) It's a great tip, and so true. Okay, slight change of topic here, but I know you have lost weight in the past year, and you are looking great! How did you do it? What kind of advice do you have for other women out there wanting to get fit?    
50 and fabulous Cindy:I joined Weight Watchers and I love it!  Years ago, my doctor had told me that he has many patients trying to lose weight and the ones that lost the most and keep it off are the ones on Weight Watchers.  I've tried just about every diet out there and I really do think Weight Watchers is the best. It really teaches you how to eat for the rest of your life! It's so much more than a diet...I hate that word any way! I associate diet with starving! It's so much better to look at it as a way of life! I still allow myself to have treats because I really hate the feeling of being deprived. If I make the majority of my food healthy; lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains then I can have sweets (which are my weakness) every once in awhile. 
me: That sounds like a good, smart, livable plan. The idea of a diet just sets us up for defeat.

I have definite opinions on my next question, but I want your take on this first...Do you feel that being a single girl adds extra pressure to feeling the need to look your best, or do you think it's simply a girl thing?   

50 and fabulous Cindy:Oh, I think it adds a lot of extra pressure especially if you are out there dating! The competition is fierce on the online dating sites. I always feel like so much emphasis is put on how we as women look that it sometimes it makes me feel so inadequate. I try to focus on looking the best I can with what I have and be happy with that. Perfection will never be reached and I am what I am...a 50 year old woman and nothing I do will make me 30 again and I'm okay with that. After all, 30 year olds  have no clue how much more wisdom they will have when they are 50! 

me: I couldn't agree more. Being single in your 50's most certainly isn't for least not in the dating realm...and Hollywood hasn't done us any favors either.On the flip side, who knew dating as a Gramma could be so much fun? Anything else you'd like to add Cindy?
50 and fabulous Cindy: I just would like to add,  if you are wanting to lose weight and firm up, don't focus so much on the end result you want to see in the mirror...have that in the back of your mind but more importantly, enjoy the process!  I can feel when I've lost just a couple pounds and it feels great!  I can feel my legs getting firmer every time I go hiking!  I guess what I'm trying to say is...Enjoy the journey, don't just focus on where you ultimately want to be. The amazing thing is you will feel and look better all along the way to your final result!

me: I totally agree. I don't even own a scale, because I get too focused on hitting a silly goal, and then end up depressing myself and heading for a bag of Oreos, instead of working on today,on now. Thanks so much Cindy, for taking the time to share with us.You make a great role model for the rest of us fifty-somethings!


I don't know about you, but I am feeling so inspired this morning that I just might have to crack ol' Jillian outta her case and try getting my groove back with the 30 Day Shred....right after I go wash my face.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Free for all.

That's the name of the Portland Oregon Parks and Rec program that brings weekly summer concerts and movies to parks all around Portland. Very cool, especially in this economy. (Have I told you before just how much I love living here in the great Pacific Northwest?)
 My Rock n' Roll Buddy and I headed over last Thursday to see the Tom Petty cover band, "Petty Fever" perform. The weather was fabulous, the music was good, and we had a blast. Sitting there in the warm sunshine sharing a lil' picnic dinner while listening to free live music, people watching and laughing our heads off is a pretty unbeatable way to spend an Thursday after work, I'll tell you that.

People were flocking in all throughout the band concert, setting up blankets and chairs, enjoying the tail end of summer with family and friends. This is what living here is all about. We left after the music, but by then there was quite a crowd assembled, all cozied up on blankets waiting patiently for the movie to begin. 

I had never seen one of these inflatable movie screens,, what an invention! Pure genius.
It's just amazing to me all of the wonderful activities the Portland area has to offer, if we only take the time to check them out. (Seriously, there is some sort of free concert or show or event every single day of the week.) I think it's kind of funny when I think about it, 'coz in my old life I probably would never have even considered attending something like this...partially because the Biggest Little City didn't have quite as many urban activities, but more so because in my old life we kind of just did the same things, week after week after week around town. Maybe that's another lesson I've learned these past few years- that life is short and I need to enjoy each day of it...or maybe moving up here was just a gift from God to me.

Whatever it is, I am grateful, and I hope you're all having as fun of a summer as I am.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


.....They say it's called a "garage".

Verb: Put or keep (a motor vehicle) in a garage.
Noun: A building or shed for housing a motor vehicle or vehicles.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Breaking up is hard to do....

One of my new gal-pals at work is going through a break up with her boyfriend this week so I put together a quick lil' Breakup Survival Kit. It was easy, and took no time at all.

I began with a bottle of soothing lavender mineral bubble bath, added a People Magazine for some mindless reading and topped it all of with a ginormous chocolate candy bar. (excuse the blurry was the only picture I took of the candy bar wrapper...)
I removed the outer candy wrapper and replaced it with some cute scrapbook paper, made a gift tag for the box and added a card (I coincidentally had a Susan Branch Break up card in my card file stash...can you believe they make such things? Too sweet!)
Anyway, she was quite touched and even stopped by my desk at the day's end to tell me that she was anxious to get home to take that bubble bath....and that made my day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Easy window valance tutorial....

Both of my daughters inherited my love of decoratin. One of them redid her upstairs guest bath last week, starting with a fresh coat of paint, and cleaning the window (which had a bit of birdie poop on it that required climbing out the second story window to clean properly...)
Anyway, once things were completed, she was looking for an easy window treatment. I mentioned the cute crocheted lace runner valance I had created in ten minutes in my Barbi Condo kitchen....

We decided to give the same treatment to her cute little bathroom window.
 She had a few pretty cutwork runners, and we chose one that was about two thirds longer than her window was wide. We hammered small finishing nails at both ends ot the top of the window frame,...
 as well as one last nail up top in the center, then we folded the runner in half, length wise, and hung it from the center nail..
then pulled the runner fairly taunt and hung it from either end on the outer nails..
We fluffed the ends of the runner so it hung neatly and we were finished. It added a pretty touch to her cute window, and still let plenty of light in. If you're looking for a quick valance treatment for a kitchen, bath or mudroom, you might want to consider your own version of this treatment idea yourself!

Friday, August 12, 2011

And so I baked some cupcakes.

I went with my Rock n Roll Buddy to his Office BBQ the other afternoon. Don't ask me why, but it never occurred to me until the night before the BBQ to ask if it was a pot luck and if so, was there anything I could bring along? He said no, he'd just grab some Popsicles at the store on the way to the party.

Dang it. I missed an opportunity to bake.

Well, after thinking about it, and then dreaming about it all night, I woke up and whipped out a quick batch of cuppy-cakes to take along to the event.

*sigh* I felt ever so much better after that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Breakfast for dinner.

...that's what I made last night. 

Hash browns, bacon, eggs (Scrambled for me, over-easy for my buddy) and plenty of toast with raspberry jam.

Anyway, that got me thinking...How unusual is that, really? Do you like breakfast foods at breakfast time, and dinner foods at the end of a day? Are you a formal meal person, with meat and potatoes and a veggie or two, or a big ol' sandwich and a cuppa chowder on the side?

Living alone, with my kids all grown, I'm not so much the formal meal person I once was, as much as I am a comfort food nut. Grilled cheese and tomato soup, french toast slathered in melt-y butter and maple syrup, hot chocolate with whipped cream or marshmallows, or good spicy chili...not mixed together, and certainly not all at once, but..give me any one of those items on the right day and time, and all's right in my lil' world.

Now, my Rock n' Roll Buddy, he's definitely a breakfast- for-dinner person. Yup, there is no doubt about it,so....about every three or four weeks I treat him to breakfast for dinner. (He gets his favorite meal and I get to indulge myself cooking, which I so enjoy, and don't do often enough these days!)

Mmmmmm, comfort food, for sure.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A few well chosen words.

When you're entertaining, it's the littlest details that make things memorable. One of my favorite never-fail little details is so easy that I thought I'd share it here today.
 Whenever I am entertaining (or giving a gift, for that matter...) I google quotations for the event, or the person. For this past event I googled up love and engagement quotations. I found several that I liked, so I copied them in a simple font (courier) and printed them on a checkered background from my cheesy lil' print program.
I then cut them to fit in some of my simple black frames and added them to the buffet table...
It adds a bit of interest as well as color to the table, don't you think? It works just as well on gift tags, so remember this next time you are hosting a party or  wrapping a package!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I heart Cupcake fondue....big-time.

Can you say "Yummy"? This was our dessert at a little family gathering last night to celebrate my daughter and her adorable future husband's engagement.

Such a fun lil' dessert idea! (I can't claim it, I found it here.) I baked babycakes without using cupcake liners (I just sprayed a teeny bit of Pam into the pans instead.) and made my always-fabulously-dee-lish buttercream frosting, but added a bit of extra milk to make it more fondue-like. Bowls filled with little yummies to sprinkle on top of the freshly cupcake, and... vioila'!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More pictures from BarnHouse...

More pictures, as promised.....Joe's booth space was amazing, as always...

...and Vintage Brocante and Camas Antiques...

...and ReTreat...

...and Kindred Roses....
...and so were all of the other spaces...

So much creativity in one place! Thanks for having me, boys!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Barnhouse aftermath.

What a fabulous day. Perfect weather, great company, and more eye candy than you can imagine, let alone photograph!

I wanted to share a few pictures I managed to take before the faire opened, and the crowds descended...(I'll share more tomorrow, as I am already running late for work...)

...Those Boys of BarnHouse really know how to throw an event!
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