over50feeling40: November 2013
Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

Nov 30, 2013

An Awesome, Yet Different Pumpkin Pie

Well, Thanksgiving didn't exactly go as planned...but I think I will save that story for next Tuesday! However, the pie exceeded all expectations!

It is not uncommon in sunny Texas to celebrate this time of year with ice cream.  Baskin Robbins even sells an ice cream-Turkey cake!  This year I decided to try something new and make a Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie.  Now Blue Bell Ice Cream helps with this awesome flavor including rich pumpkin ice cream, caramel ribbons, and sugar-coated pecans.  I usually make my own cookie crust, but this year was different (remember that story on Tuesday).

Set the ice cream out to thaw a bit and then fill the crust to a flat level like this.

Cover and return to the freezer for a couple of hours.

Next, melt in a saucepan one half stick of butter, and a 4 oz bar of Baker's German's sweet chocolate baking bar.  After all is melted on a low heat, whisk in a cup of sugar, a tablespoon of light corn syrup, and a small can of evaporated milk.  Stir until smooth and thick for about five minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in a teaspoon of vanilla.

Place the sauce in the refrigerator for an hour to cool and thicken to a consistency much like icing.

Spread the cold sauce over the cold ice cream pie, cover and return to freezer for at least an hour.  When ready to serve, let it sit out for about five minutes....slice....top with French Vanilla Seasonal Cool Whip and a dash of Pumpkin Pie Seasoning.  It is so rich and good you do not have to worry about leftovers!
What about Christmas you ask??  You can also do this with any ice cream...peppermint...Blue Belle Christmas Cookie...or roll your favorite flavor into balls the size of tennis balls.  Shape the ice cream, roll through coconut and wrap in Saran Wrap individually.  Make the same chocolate sauce.  When ready to serve, place your ice cream ball in a dessert dish, cover with cool chocolate sauce, and top with whipped cream.  My kids grew up calling these SNOWBALLS.  
We actually had cold weather this week...but down here we are never too cold for ice cream!
Happy Saturday, everyone!  Hope your holidays are beginning with fun!

Nov 29, 2013

Small Business Saturday: Support A Favorite!!

Happy First-Official Holiday Shopping Weekend!
Tomorrow is one of my favorite "special" days...Small Business Saturday.  I love small business owners and would like to encourage all of you to pick out at least one favorite and give them your support on this day!
One of my favorites in San Antonio is GARMENT EXCHANGE, owned by 51 year old, Marilyn Caskey.
Marilyn has been in fashion retail for many years and been in resale since 2008.  She has become a friend and a place I love to stop by not just for shopping, but often for a chat.  I love even more supporting women our age doing what brings them joy!
Marilyn is an impressive business woman and willing to share some advice:
1. Name your three greatest challenges as a small business owner today.
            A. Ahhh, yes advertising!  I have made several mistakes on advertising that didn't work and wasted a lot of money.  Small businesses can't always keep up financially with the franchises and the way they advertise on radio, tv, etc.  But I have learned that the best form of advertising is word of mouth from happy customers.  The process takes longer, but you will build a stronger business with solid, strong customers.  Ones that understand and respect the work that is involved in a small business.  My focus is to find customer that are loyal and love the connections in small shops.
                B. My business is always on a budget so I have to take on responsibilities I am not always crazy about like payroll, accounting, marketing and cleaning.  At some point I will be able to hire more employees to take some of that off my plate but in the meantime I search online and figure a lot out on my own.  Thank goodness for the “Google”. I would love to have a cleaning fairy come in at night and make it sparkling in the morning!  Some day.
            C. Another challenge for small businesses is signing contracts for different services like merchant account, security & cameras and advertising and not having attorneys on staff to look over the documents.  A couple years ago I signed a 1 year contract for online advertising with a large company thinking it was for “1 year” and they used unethical practices to keep billing me and not cancelling my account.  After trying to cancel for 6 months and still receiving an $1100 bill, I finally went to the BBB and was credited $700.  I learned my lesson and no longer sign contracts even if they look simple. And before doing business with companies I suggest searching the internet for their reviews because it amazes me how many scams there are for small businesses.  I guess we are easy targets.  I think it would be great for small businesses to be able to work with St Mary’s University Legal students and have them look over simple contracts for small businesses.  That is my next project!

2. Name your three top pieces of advice to women who are considering opening a small business.

A.     Do something you love, so it doesn’t seem like work.  People love to do business with people who are genuine, trustworthy and authentic.  Be all of those!
B.      Search out successful business owners and pick their brain.  I met with John, owner of Second Looks  (local men's resale) and asked for a bit of his time.  He’s been in business for 30 years so I knew he had something to teach me.  Then I emailed a successful resale store owner from Scottsdale, Arizona and asked if she could give me some guidance.  I also meet with some of my good friends that are and have been successful in their careers.  I bring the wine and ask for guidance and ideas.  Never be afraid to ask for help.
C.      Get yourself on a budget and be prepared to not bring in an income for maybe 1-3 years.  Yikes! I am not even kidding.  Find other ways to make money like ebay but don’t count on your business making oodles and oodles at the beginning.

3. What do you love most about what you do?

I absolutely love connecting with my customers; everyone has a story.  One of the reasons I have to stay late at night to get my work done is because I am side tracked all day by people stopping  by to chit chat.  And I love it.  I am so grateful for my loyal customers and the friends I have made. 

I also love to see the recycling process at work...  Consignors bringing in items they no longer want and then someone buying it to RELOVE the garment...  It really is a beautiful thing.

While there, I bought my son three tops and my daughter a brand new faux-fur vest!!  Why fight crowds, go small!
Give your support and encouragement this holiday season to small businesses. They need it!

Happy Shopping!  Stay safe and have fun!

San Antonio, for womens, teens, and mens resale visit Marilyn and Deidra at Garment Exchange.
16662 San Pedro, Park Oaks Shopping Center, 281@ Thousand Oaks

Nov 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Decor: Touches of Nature Plus A Giveaway!

Wednesday it all begins...for two days I will be cooking, cooking, cooking....and I hope to share a new type of pumpkin pie recipe after I begin the process (just know, no-place-but-Texas for a pie like this).
My backyard is covered in these bushes and berries...I have tried to find the name of the bush..but only became confused! Anyway, I cut the autumn-colored branches and berry-clusters and place them up and down the table runner...they look beautiful on the table.  One year I also tied a small amount with raffia to the napkins. 
I also like to use broken antlers found on neighborhood walks, and turkey feathers from success my son had on one hunting trip.
Antlers are popular here for all types of centerpieces.  I always get excited when I find them on the street...we have a lot of deer which hang out all around us. I just love nature and I think that is why I like this sterling silver necklace from Blue Nile Jewelry .  
The first time I saw this necklace, I thought it would be such a special gift for a family member to commemorate a family tree addition!  A new daughter-in-law...a new blended family...a new adopted daughter...welcome them to the family!
Well, if you would like to win one of these for yourself or a family member, then just leave a comment below!  I will draw a winner on December 6!  Any of you can receive a 10% discount at Blue Nile, with this code BNHH10!
Now, with a little bit of the great outdoors, decorating will be the easiest part...cleaning house and cooking...more involved.  I hope all of you have a special, precious Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for each and every one of you.  I am also thankful for our first Thanksgiving with our grandson and our new in-laws.
Remember to comment for entry to win the Blue Nile Branch Necklace!!

Also, Happy Hanukkah!!  Make sure you visit the wonderful blogs, early this week, of Katie's Favorite Things Blog Hop!!

Nov 26, 2013

4 Steps to a Glamorous-Holiday You!

Ready or not, the holidays begin now and I know some of you will dress this week for special functions.  Please head over to Midlife Boulevard, HERE, and see my tips when planning those outfits....just a little advice from the Joy Boutique.

See you later, there is much to do..much to do!
Happy Tuesday, all!

Nov 24, 2013

For 1001 Times....

This is post #1001! I just happened to notice the number a couple of days ago!  So, I thought it would be appropriate to once again write about a favorite message wearing my favorite coat! 
 The little note above was actually left on my desk by a student the first week of school....(sorry, I accidentally covered the word SPARKLE, it is not SPARK).  I loved it so much, I have it taped in the front of my calendar book to remind me that my sparkle is not just for the holidays, but every day!
Never underestimate the power of encouragement.  A sweet note…a random text…a hand written letter…a kind word…go farther than any gift we can purchase.  When covering a blog story on Friday, I watched a woman walk slowly around a store.  You could see her sadness by the way she walked and the way she dressed.   I perceived a woman who desperately wants to look better, but approached each display with fear and lack of confidence.  She finally stopped and touched a bright purple shirt…lingering there for a moment.  All I did, was walk close by and say, “That color would look amazing on you.”  She looked up at me, “Yeah?”  I smiled and shook my head up and down.  It was as if sunlight came through the store and shined on her face.
I do not know if she bought the garment or not, but she was in need of encouragement more than anything.  As we go through this rushed time of year, let’s make sure we stop to see those who need just a kind word or two.  It’s the ultimate in gift giving.

"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."   - Helen Keller

Have a marvelous Monday everyone! Stay warm!  And make sure you visit the bloggers of Monday Mingle!  and the Verizon Fashionista Style Hop!

Fierce in Fur...The Fur Salon at Saks!

On the first day of Christmas, Harper's Bazaar said to me...go to Saks Fifth Avenue and enjoy fabulous beauty!  Four luxurious, chic jackets ready for some blessed new owners.
I just had to see them for myself, and my friends at Saks Fifth Avenue in North Star Mall allowed the access.

Birger Christensen for Saks Fifth Ave.  Beautiful taupe quilted leather coat with dyed mink collar and cuffs.

Isn't this sassy...love the design!  BISANG. Exclusively marble-dyed rabbit short sleeve jacket and knit trim.

Pull out those leather leggings and pull on this exclusive rose-dyed lamb tunic with rose beige-dyed SAGA fox trim.

And now, my personal favorite...so chic and flattering. Black-dyed sherling lamb coat with leather self belt and sleeves.

I would wear it with these fabulous,
Phillip Lim, Bunty Leather and Fish Skin Ankle Boots.

Dripping luxury...if you are interested or want to find one of these under your tree, then contact The Fur Salon at Saks for an appointment.  You are guaranteed to look Fierce in Fur!

Hopefully, you can join me later today when I return to my world!!  Have a joyous Sunday all!

Nov 22, 2013

Breaking News: Evodia Website Now UP!

I recently received this beautiful necklace from Kelly, a college student in New York who is beginning her own jewelry company.

Her company is named Evodia, which she tells me means "she who wishes others well."  That is her goal: to spread good energy and positivity to women around the world.

She sent me pictures of these designs and would like to know what you think.  I do not know anything other than that...nothing about prices or materials.  But, I do know what she sent to me is really beautiful and I will wear it!

So, let's help Kelly out!  Do you like what you see? Would you make a purchase if you knew more?

You did a great job, ladies...Kelly just sent me a website link for ordering!  Just go to EVODIA!  She was encouraged by your comments!
Have a wonderful Saturday and stay warm everyone!!

Fifty Years Later: One Day We Came Together

I wasn’t a big fan of the school cafeteria in fifth grade.  I always stressed over the food…where to sit…was the boy I currently crushed on ignoring me…feelings of inadequacy…and then one day a significant moment.  I was in an argument with another girl when the principal interrupted our lunch to tell us President John F. Kennedy had been shot and it had happened in Dallas just a couple of hours away from where I lived.  Women serving food began to cry. A teacher fell to a chair and held her head.  For a moment, all of the typical lunchroom activity stopped…silence…then sobs.  Why Texas?  I heard these words spoken over and over again…why did it have to be Texas?

I was ready to process through this moment with my parents, but upon pushing the screen door open after school, I knew immediately my mother wasn’t ready to talk.  Her eyes were bulging red and the bust of President Kennedy which sat at the top of a bookcase had been moved to the kitchen table.  Her loyalty to the young President had annoyed my father, who did not vote for him.  She didn’t care.  She often quoted his speeches and loved every outfit Jackie modeled. She was caught up in the story of Camelot.  Her grief that day was as deep as if a family member had passed away suddenly.  “Why would anyone want to shoot such a great man,” she sobbed.  “I just don’t understand.” 

She sat and wept with Walter Cronkite, the only man in our home who shared her deep grief.  Our close knit neighborhood all seemed uncomfortable about the attention to Texas as the site of the assassination and as the home of the new President.  The “Why Texas?” theme was said over and over again.

The mothers of my school friends sat around televisions, some smoking cigarettes, some drinking hard liquors lamenting over what all of this meant for America. Scenes eerily similar to those posed for Mad Men.  I remember one of them so fearful Russia was going to attack our country as they listened to a possible Russian connection to shooter Lee Harvey Oswald. We watched the funeral. Mother cried when John-John saluted.  For days, a heavy cloud of doubt and fear hung over everyone. 

Eventually, the bust went back to the bookcase. The lunchroom remained intimidating, and my mother esteemed President Kennedy until she fell for Ronald Reagan.  Then she never mentioned the assassination again.   But, those moments when an entire nation wept together will forever remain with me.  For during that time, there were no Democrats, no Republicans, just Americans who lost a family member they loved. 

Today's post is part of a link up from the ladies of Midlife Boulevard.  You may read the other posts HERE.

Image from San Antonio Express News:  www.mysa.com

Nov 21, 2013

Friday Fashion News - Edition #12

We are just one week away from Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season.  Lights, decorations, music, everywhere.  I love it!  Retailers are beginning stockings full of surprises.
Coldwater Creek has officially started its Pin It to Win Contest where you can win a $250 gift card.  Check out the details HERE!
In blog news,  I discovered a new one for your list, MODERN CURVES.  It is written by stylist Timothy Snell, who loves to dress women with curves!!
Blogger, D.A. Wolf, introduced us to Heidi Braun and Alex Graff  founders of a new eco-friendly clothing line with a purpose.  Read about them in D.A.'s blog, Daily Plate of Crazy.

There are some beautiful skirts out there! I love this PENCIL SKIRT by Rachel Roy!

So now, the chaos begins. Much to do, much to do...but I still plan to have a few surprises for you next week!

Happy Friday all!

Nov 20, 2013

Goodwill Makes Thanksgiving Hassle-Free

I cannot believe it is already Thanksgiving time with Christmas on the horizon!  I have discovered through my regular visits to Goodwill in San Antonio how great a place it is for decorations.  Like this Thanksgiving trio above!

We are scheduled to have
cooler weather next week, so I might be able to 
wear this plaid jacket and beautiful silk scarf I found at Goodwill last week.  I like this English-riding style!

The retro-scarf is Ginnie Johansen and 100% silk.

I paired it with my leggings
with leather insets and my black boots!!  Please try leggings, if you haven't already, they are so much fun to wear and completely age appropriate!

Also, while there I found five stacks of sturdy paper plates.  Since I am cooking for a crowd this year, I snatched these babies up!!  Coincidence...they matched my napkins perfectly!  Next week, I plan to bring you a couple of fun holiday recipes, and table decoration ideas.  

Also, I discovered brand new Better Homes and Gardens spicy pine cone potpourri!
All of the table decor is now happening for under $10!! Affordable decorations...YES!

A successful way to save money and put it forward towards the holidays.....also for anyone with a budding fashionista...here is the cutest lamp!  Remember, when you shop GOODWILL, you are helping create jobs for your community!

Have a great Thursday everyone!!  Please visit the talented bloggers of Katie's Favorite Things Blog Hop!!

Thanksgiving trio decor and Jacket:  Goodwill, Bulverde Road and Hwy. 1604
Plates, potpourri, lamp, and scarve:  Goodwill Hwy 218 and Bitters Road