over50feeling40: December 2011
Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

Dec 31, 2011

Journalism 101 for Bloggers: Lesson One

Happy 2012 everyone!!  I hope all had a safe and joyful celebration.  As promised, I want to start this new year off with inspiration!  Hopefully, many of you as fashion and style bloggers see the potential we have to help small businesses, designers, retailers, and others by reporting and reviewing what is in the marketplace.  There are also opportunities for many of you to help your local communities with great communication done with style and class.

What you need to remember, is that the majority of individuals writing for fashion magazines, and newspaper style sections have journalism degrees.  They have been properly trained and worked internships to sharpen their skills.    But, there are basics you can learn and practice so that your blog presents the same quality and professionalism as these publications.  I have taught high school journalists for eleven years!  One of my former students is currently in Iowa covering the caucus for a major daily newspaper! I decided to major in journalism when I was in eighth grade and never changed my mind...it is, my passion!  Before I jump to interviewing techniques, I wanted to begin with the basics: the  tools of the trade and learning to think like a journalist!

You do not need all of these tools, but here is what will make your job easier:

1. A business card.  This simple piece of paper legitimizes who you are and introduces you as a professional.

2. For photography, it does help to have a smart phone, so that you can take pictures quickly and without being noticed.  But, if you have permission to cover an event, then it also helps to have a great digital camera.

3. A voice recorder.  Some of you already have this on your smart phone.  I like the hand held recorder that I can just place on a nearby table in addition to taking notes.  Why do both?  Technology has been known to fail at the absolute worst moments!
In lesson two, we will discuss the importance of quoting people correctly.  The reason I use the hand held recorder is the quality is sharper than the phone app so I can understand all the words.  Also, in an interview, you should ask their permission to record the conversation.

4.  A reporter's notebook.  I use a professional reporter's notebook that is designed to fit in your hand...but you can use anything that works best for you...just as long as you take notes and get the information correct!  I always take several pens just in case they begin to run out of ink or just cease working!

5.  Finally, a very fashionable, large bag to carry all of this....and a beautiful, confident smile and attitude!! 

I love to carry my Simply Vera bag from Kohls for interviews!  It holds
all I need it to!

Now, if you look to your right and click on the page which says Journalism 101 for Bloggers, you can read about the qualities which make for great journalists!  These are things to keep in mind as you begin to cover stories for your own blog, and I have given you a specific example for each category, so you understand the correlation.  A very simple definition of journalism is, "Storytelling with a purpose."  If you can tell your readers a great story and they can see the purpose or the meaning behind it and how it relates to them, then you have done your job!

Begin to read product reviews and fashion interviews and pay attention to details.  Try to figure out what the journalist was asking which lead to the answers given in the article.  Reading, reading, reading is one of the best ways to learn.

Lesson Two will cover interview specifics and will run later this week!!  Until then, if you have questions or want to discuss anything here...please email me over50feeling40@gmail.com.

COURAGE!  Some call it hutzpah!  It can
be your best friend as a blogger practicing
good journalism!!

Dec 30, 2011

2012 Resolution #4: Keeping It Fresh

This is where thousands will be tonight in San Antonio to ring in the New
Year!!  Fireworks go off at midnight from the top of the tower.

This is it!  On New Year's Eve, I offer my final resolution, which is more of a pledge to the readers of over50feeling40....to keep the content of this blog fresh, relevant, and (I hope) interesting!!  My desire is for all of you to be inspired and educated, and motivated to enjoy your life each and every day!  I am so grateful to all of you who take the time to read; comment; and send emails!  Daily gratitude will keep us all young and you keep me feeling that way!  All of you are treasures and I hope 2012 will be an incredible year for all.  You are women of strength and dignity and deserve to live as such!!

These words are just the TIP of what you mean to me!!!

So, for New Year's Day, I am going to answer a request which came from a couple of fellow Fashion and Style Bloggers.  Since, I wrote the post Could Style Bloggers Change the Economy?
and encouraged others to support local businesses and designers, there have been requests to teach fellow bloggers how to conduct interviews.  I have been teaching high school journalism for over 11 years (after falling in love with it in my own eighth grade year and eventually majoring in it at college), so this is what I love.  Tomorrow,  I will bring you lesson number one of Journalism 101 for Bloggers!!

If you want to be visible in Texas, you need a great hat!!

I will join Patti on Monday for her Visible Monday event, and Tuesday join Jill and Adrienne for their statement necklace event!  It is back to school for me on Monday....so here we go again!

Mustang Grey's, 303 South Alamo, La Villita

Til then, today's photos are from a great western boutique, Mustang Grey's in La Villita in downtown San Antonio!  Happy New Year, y'all!!

I still regret not purchasing the green leaf scarf!!!

2012 Resolution #3: Take Care of Me

Walking my way to good health in 2012 with new shoes from Tenevis by Good Feet!!


“Another key goal in any plan is the commitment to keep on trying in the face of received failure. A certain attitude of determination is required, you need to be able to envision you in the future and picture yourself looking the way you want to be….do not give up because the weight reduction is not what you expect or anticipate. Every time you backslide, pick yourself up and continue on.

- W. Bennett for pamperyourselfdaily.com

I confess. In the stress of the last two months, I set my healthy eating habits and walking to the side. But, looking in the mirror of recent blog posts was like receiving a glass of cold water in the face….I can see every line of sugar in my face and the blogger’s butt on my hips!

So here is the 2012 plan for taking care of me:

1. Focus on health gain, not weight loss!

A phrase I discovered from Image Consultant, Oreet Mizrahi. She also wrote, “ Your ideal body weight is the weight that allows you to feel fit, and energetic.” In the middle of 2011, I lost 30 pounds and was walking daily….felt great. After two months of holiday delights and inactivity from constantly working, I’ve lost that “feel great feeling.”

Specifically, on December 26, I began a new plan to eat flourless and sugarless for several reasons. A close friend, Jan, turned her arthritic pain level around when she said good bye to gluten. As if a gift from above, fellow blogger, Adrienne of The Rich Life on a Budget began a new blog Sugarless, Flourless,and Fabulous.

It is great encouragement for me....I will report back about how "this lover of all things sweet and bread" is doing!!

For me, I want a lifestyle of healthy eating…one that is part of me, no falling off for long periods of time...and one that is not the latest Weight Watchers….Slim Fast…Jenny Craig…Special K craze. 

2. Just 20 minutes a day!

That’s all I am asking of myself for right now…just twenty minutes a day of walking and hopefully this will lead to more. When I stopped I was at an hour walk in a very hilly neighborhood. I have new shoes….  from Tenevis by Good Feet which I will blog specifically about soon…but they are the same as having a trainer pushing me forward. These shoes demand more of my legs and hips…they are pretty incredible. Again, I will report back to you!

A shellac, french manicure

3. A gift for Pam once a month

This is something I started as an Empty Nester and it has become important for my state of mind as someone who works long hours. I must treat myself with a little gift once a month. Pampering Pam! It really helps with my attitude and is the fuel that keeps me giving to students and those around me. When I feel good, I am better about helping others to feel good. My little reward can be any of the following:

I love a peaceful salon!

1. A manicure, pedicure, facial, or massage (The expensive part of the list)

2. One or two small items at a thrift store

3. One or two small items after selling something in a consignment shop

4. Listening to music I enjoy

5. An afternoon with one of my favorite movies or musicals

6. A new eye shadow…purchased with a coupon, of course

7. An exfoliator in the shower

8. Early morning quiet with candles and peace

9. Grabbing my friend Gigi and saying, “Let’s go have an adventure!”

10. New shoes purchased at Ross

A group of my wonderful students gave me a gift certificate for Christmas for a manicure, so, yesterday, was the day and I decided to test the new SHELLAC nail polish. It is more expensive, but claims to stay on longer and through anything. I will put this to the test and let you know how things go. My nails look gorgeous…we will see how long that lasts! Somehow, just walking into a salon’s door relaxes me, but in our current economic situation, it will take a gift certificate to get me in there!

Another fun way to pamper yourself, is to enter the giveaway promotions hosted by fellow bloggers! Yesterday I won a lipstick from  Une Femme!   Thank you soooo much!! Check out her special holiday giveaways...they continue on!!!

So cool!

How do you plan to take care of yourself in 2012??

Dec 28, 2011

2012 Resolution #2: Take More Risks

I took this picture of Tim Gunn at his October 2011 appearance in San Antonio

“Risk taking in fashion is fun, but risk taking in our careers and in our education is essential. Ambitious people are more attractive and more fun to be with than people who maintain the status quo.”
Tim Gunn, Gunn’s Golden Rules, Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work

All bloggers are risk takers. They have made the decision to be vulnerable and put their words and pictures out there for all to see and, on top of that, actually ask readers for opinions!  But, this year, I want to push this envelope a little more. I already began a few steps of courage this past year (still not ready to reveal all that I am up to) and I plan to take my ideas to a new level this year. The risk? Is that there are people all over America laughing at me….but I believe in those ideas, so it is worth the risk. At 58….who cares who is laughing?

I am not hiding the fact that I desire to supplement my income doing something I love…writing and communicating to women of a certain age. But, it takes perseverance and courage. I was personally encouraged by the fact that Tim Gunn began with Project Runway as an unpaid consultant for two seasons! “People are often shocked to hear that I was unpaid for so long, but I did it for the love of it, and (please don’t read this, anyone associated with the show) I would do it again for free in a heartbeat. And it all worked out……Yes, those early days of Project Runway were hard work, but also deeply fulfilling,” Tim writes in his new book. For those of you who hope to make income with your blog and currently do not, draw from Tim’s well of wisdom and hang in there.

Simply Vera T Shirt - Kohls
Brown Cardigan - Chicos
Denim Skirt - Lane Bryant
Boots - Ross
I think at the top of my “out-of-my-comfort-zone-list” is to finally join the crowd on YouTube. I have a good camera for this now, so hopefully, I can begin soon. I will continue to pursue freelance writing. It is extremely competitive, but I hope that editors will see I offer fresh ideas for baby boomers. There are many other ideas I have and will continue to throw out for consideration….it just takes a little courage to be risky and vulnerable. If people are laughing at me, well, then….I am bringing them a little joy in their day!!

Scarf - Garment Exchange
Apt. 9 Bracelet - Kohls
 Also, as over-50 guru Tim Gunn said, risk taking in fashion is fun. I hope to continue taking a few risks with fashion this year as well. One of my Foundational Five guidelines is I want Pam-style to communicate creativity, so that gives me the freedom to take some risks….as long as I remember the other four foundations and seek balance in the message.

Wearing these booties with a skirt was one of
my risks in 2011...maybe easy for some of you...but it was
new for me and I really liked it!!  Risks can be fun!
What is just one risk you would like to take in 2012??

Dec 27, 2011

2012 Resolution #1: Hopeful Anticipation

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age.

Sophia Loren

2012 is going to be an incredible year! Not because InStyle said so, but because I am determined for it to be. You see, this summer I will turn 59 and the clock is ticking ever closer to the big 60….so, I purpose to have a great year for number 59! Using the resources Sophia Loren suggests, I plan to defeat age once again this year!

But, I want you to know that I do not have unrealistic expectations about the uncertainties that lie ahead. That’s why I chose to take today’s outfit picture by this ladder. We are currently preparing our home to go on the market, because we must make some “drastic” changes since my husband remains unemployed. Sometimes difficulties force decisions that need to be made, yet were in a stalemate. Throughout this transition time, I can choose to be fearful or hopeful. The fountain of youth flows with hope.

Silk Jacket: Chicos
Cowl Neck Sweater: I have had it so long, I do not
remember where it orginally came from
Black Lee Jeans: Kohls
Ariat Boots from Dillards (about 10 years old)
Headband: Target

I know there are rough waters ahead. It comes with the territory as we get older. We are forced into changes we often do not want to make. We also walk through difficulties with those we love around us. We live in a world where few things are guaranteed.

As another classic actress, Betty Davis, once said, “Getting older ain’t for sissies!”

Braclets: Kohls

So, my first resolution for 2012, is to face the year with joy, hope, and anticipation of good things. After that, I just want to live one day at a time to its fullest….with class and STYLE.

What do you think of Sophia Loren's quote?

Dec 26, 2011

Evaluating 2011

Jana Kos Coat
Liz Claiborne blouse: Marshalls
Lane Bryant Denim Skirt and Tights
Boots: Ross
Simply Vera Bag: Kohls
Neckalace: Stein Mart

I hope you enjoyed all of the posts on life in San Antonio…you can certainly see that it is a city exploding in color…our Hispanic heritage rejoices over color!

Experimenting with color was within one of my goals for this past year. Last January, I wrote eleven posts with eleven priorities I wanted to set for 2011. The list included:

1. Choose joy…no matter the circumstances. I want to be a survivor…not a victim!

2. Learn more about technology; and, as much about social media as I have time to pursue.

3. Get out into the community and cover stories for the readers of this blog

4. Be courageous with my fashion choices and occasionally step out of my comfort zone

5. Get healthier.

6. Remember, as a teacher, I am a role model for high school students, and for work, I need to dress in professional, confident, strong, appropriate styles.

7. Meet someone new every day either through a new blog or out in the community covering stories.

8. Take better photos and have more of me taken outside of my classroom

There are so  many fun things to take pictures of...like these decorations at River Center Mall!

9. Reflect sophistication…an image of an educated, dignified, confident woman when in the community

This is what I wore last week to interview a local jewelry designer!  Hope to bring you
that story next week!

10. Make more purchases at consignment and thrift shops.

11. Get organized and stay organized.

I confess that when I typed number eleven, I laughed out loud! I have organized and re-organized (and am currently unorganized) several times over the year. But, all in all, looking back over this list, I think I did pretty good. Number two still frustrates me. I have so much to learn and so little time, but I definitely know more than I did this time last year. Don’t worry, I am not about to hit you with twelve posts for 2012, but I do hope that by this weekend I can set some goals for next year.

How do you think you did with your goals for 2011? Please share!!

There are splashes of color all around...lots of inspiration to keep it going.  This is San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio!

Mighty Monday My Way!

Angelita's Boutique at La Villita
Yes, believe it or not, the retailers have another name for holiday sales…Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday, and now…drum roll, please…today is Mighty Monday….it comes complete with 5AM Store openings, return-the-merchandise-chaos, huge discount prices, and all the crowds and personal bonding you could ever desire.

I was blessed to receive a little cash to spend after Christmas, so I have decided to set goals for that cash, instead of just reacting to great prices at the malls.

1. I recently discovered a Goodwill location that I was not aware existed and I plan to hit it later in the week. Of course, I will report back. So, goal number one is to see what I can do in the way of “thrift shopping.”

2. Skirts and dresses are at the top of the list….thanks for all the encouragement Paula and Sacramento!!

3. Maybe, see if I can find one or two statement pieces…unique and fun!

4. If I do shop stores, I will probably stop by Marshalls, Kohls, Macys, and Ross.  I plan to explain later why I put Macys on the list!

There is not a lot of money, so I really want to see how far I can go with it!! Now, for those of you in San Antonio, looking for a way to avoid mall crowds and find beautiful items not found in other places, you just might want to check out Angelita’s Boutique at La Villita. Gorgeous fabrics and fabulous jewelry…some very classy ways to say Texas! (all of the pictures from
the post were taken by me in her boutique.)

Does anyone else have goals for after Christmas shopping??

Dec 24, 2011

Christmas Mornings

Every weekend morning in between Thanksgiving and Christmas is special. I rise in the dark, while everyone else is sleeping (except Maddie, the cat), light twelve Christmas votives, make a strong cup of French Roast coffee, and listen to the quiet.

There is strength in the quiet.

There is joy in the quiet.

There is hope in the quiet.

There is peace in the quiet.

For just a few minutes alone, I can spend time with me and with the one who gifted me with unconditional love born in a stable. He only asks that I return that unconditional love to others.

So, on this Christmas weekend, I pray that in the New Year, you will receive unconditional love, strength, joy, hope, and peace.

He is the Light of the World…shining through the darkness.

Merry Christmas, I am so very thankful for each person who reads this blog, and for those, I now call friends.