Hi there, Friends! Happy Friday! Happy Weekend! There are so many fun things I want to share today, and as you can see in the picture above, Autumn is in her full glory right now, and we in Michigan have been treated to a spectacular show! We actually got our first snow this morning! I just love Michigan!
Thanks to my son Jacob Kennedy for the beginning and ending photos this week. Jake is studying photography and video at Washtenaw Community College right now. If you would like to see more of his work, you can find him on Instagram @jacob.kennedy21
Our November Sizzler Exercise Challenge is on a roll, and if you are a lady who is on Facebook, you are cordially invited!
The Sizzler November Challenge is a Women’s Facebook Group created to help us try and be intentional about including and or increasing physical activity in a day. Trust me, I need it! I can be pretty sedentary and exercise is one of the best things I can do so I don’t end up like the Tin Man begging for an oil can!
We keep it fun! No pressure ever, no sales pitch or strings! All positive. All sorts of levels of ability (My ability or lack there of is a great confidence builder to all!) Really, we do have a good time, women from all over the country and the world encouraging each other to get out there and enjoy some fresh air and exercise. We are like a Fitbit with a sense of humor!
Come check us out!
If you are interested please click here: Sizzler Challenge November 2018.
Weekend Sales Round Up:
Anthropologie – 20% off home items (it’s such pretty stuff!)
Bloomingdales – PRIVATE sale- Look for items marked as part of the PRIVATE sale. Take $25 off for every $100 you spend on regular priced merchandise, use code PRIVATE
Chicos – 25% off your entire purchase. Use code 29332.
Dick’s Sporting Goods – Take $20 off your order of $100 or more, online only.
Express – 40% off everything! Some exclusions apply.
Gap – Online only: Up to 50% off everything, extra 20% off use code EXTRA
JCrew – Friends and Family event. 30% off, use code FRIENDS. Rewards members get 35% off, use code FAMILY
JCPenney – Veterans Day Sale ends 11/12. Online Only – extra 25% off $100 or more OR extra 20% off under $100. Use Code 23TOSHOP . Also many other great sales going on.
Kate Spade – Take 30% off everything. Use code TOGETHER. Wowza!
Kohls – Veterans Day Sale ends Nov 15 Extra 15% off, use code THANKSVETS plus everyone gets $10 Kohls cash for every $50 spent.
Loft – 40% off your purchase, use code WORKIT
Lord & Taylor – 20% off styles for the family, regular and sale prices items (some exclusions) use code SALUTE;
Macy’s – Extra 20% off, use code VETS, plus lots of fantastic sales in every department
Nordstrom – Just added many items to their Fall sale at 40% off. Click on the sale link at their page.
Old Navy – Today only, 50% off dresses, several other great sales throughout the store
Target – Free $10 gift card when you spend $50 on clothing, shoes or accessories! Woohoo!
White House Black Market – 30% off entire purchase, use code 86093
So last week I added a new component to my Friday blog: A Few of my Favorite Things. This is meant to be a place where I can share and recommend all sorts of things to you, and all sorts of amazing people! This week I want to focus on an amazing woman with a fascinating story, Loretta Sayers Gavin.
Loretta writes a blog that I am absolutely hooked on, Loretta’s Countdown to 60. Here are some of the things I love about this blog.
First and foremost, her writing is fantastic! You know as you are reading that this is someone with a gift.
She shares real, raw life. She paints an incredible picture, sometimes glorious and sometimes terrifying. Her life has been a page turner, and after each post I am left shouting “No! No! Don’t stop there!” It’s like being in a movie!
I have had the pleasure of meeting Loretta, and am so honored to call her my friend. She showed me around Santa Barbara when I went to the FierceCon conference a few weeks ago. Best Tour Guide Ever! I asked Loretta if she would let me share her story with you, with some questions. I am thrilled to share this interview with you!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Hollister, California but my family moved back to Michigan when I was 2. I grew up in a tiny town, Hart, near Lake Michigan. My family had a small farm and we raised most of our food, including livestock.
I grew up in a big family and we were very poor…money wise. But rich in outdoor life and there was always someone to play with.
When I was 11, our mother died suddenly which shattered our farm life. I share the experience in my blog.
I left Michigan for Oregon when I was 18 and that is where I married and raised my two sons. They are now grown men, and my youngest has 2 daughters of his own now.
I am so happy to be a Nana to those two girls.
Your blog has such a fascinating title! Can you tell us a little about your blog, and what it’s about?
Thank you Amy. It all started in July of 2017 when I suddenly realized “I’m going to be 60!” I loved turning 50 and felt it was a right of passage. But 60 felt a bit more ominous!
The one thing I knew was I wanted to turn 60 feeling confident and together.
So I started my blog as a way to tackle some of the inner beasts and promised myself to be honest and share my stories from the heart. I had no idea the impact it would have on not only myself, but on so many others.
I absolutely love your blog, it is a page turner and I’m always left wanting to know what happens next. You are an amazing writer with an incredible life full of adventures! Can you tell us how you got to this place as a writer and do you ever see a book in the future? I hope so!
You are so sweet, and my biggest fan, Amy. When I started the blog, I realized most of us just don’t have the time to read a 1600 word post. I LOVE to read, but when I see a long post, I start to skim.
I didn’t want my readers to do that. So I immediately adapted a “flash non-fiction” policy of around 500 words. And when you only have 500 words, there is no room for fluff, and it leaves my readers wanting more.
I would love to write a book, or two. Since I am an “unknown” I can’t see anyone wanting to buy my memoire. So I plan on writing a series about my life, but from a fictional perspective. It will be fun to round out my “characters” with a little fabrication.
You and your husband have worked on writing projects before, can you share a little about that?
Yes, when I met John he was a columnist for a San Francisco Bay Area newspaper. His weekly column was as “The Online Dating Coach”. We met through Match.com and became friends.
I worked as an Editor for my son’s publication, Stateside Magazine, and John asked if I’d take a look at his columns before he sent them off to his editor. We ended up having long conversations about online dating and relationships in general.
What transpired over the next year was a culmination of his columns that closely matched our personal journey to becoming a couple.
I helped John write his first book, “Romeo’s Dilemma” which is our story.
What have been some of the greatest revelations to you since pursuing this way of reaching out to the community with your story through blogging?
Oh Amy, I cannot believe how this has changed me and my life for the better. There would be many times when I would be writing and crying at the same time. I poured my heart out on those blog posts.
But perhaps the most impactful revelation was when I discovered the truth about my brother’s death. I had a different narrative in my head for 37 years and when I discovered the truth, it was almost too much to bear.
What are some of the various topics you have covered and hope to cover with your blog? (travel, relationships, health etc?)
My biggest goal is always to be forthright about what’s going on inside me. My fears and trepidations, my joys and sorrows. I know so many have related to parts of my story and I’ve received emails from all over the world of women sharing with me.
But I also love to be funny and lighthearted, sometimes making fun of the little things in life. (Like unwanted facial hair or underwear that doesn’t stay in place).
My husband and I love to travel and seem to be off on one adventure after another, so I’ve been sharing those “tour and traipse” tales as well.
When I started my blog, I was 20 pounds heavier than I am now. So I’ve shared that journey with my readers. They have seen the ups and downs of it all.
My husband has joined me in some impromptu videos about Love After 50, and those have been a lot of fun to share.
I’m amazed at how relatable every single one of your posts are. I always feel I can see myself right there in the same circumstances. Can you share your insight on what it is that makes your story one we all can relate to?
I believe we tend to put other online people on pedestals and see them larger than life. I didn’t want that. I wanted to show the “real” me. The one who is vulnerable and afraid at times. That has been my pathway into the hearts of my readers, because we have all felt fear and uncertainty.
Many people would like to write a blog but don’t know where to start. What would one piece of advice be that you might share with them?
Start. Just start. Don’t worry about what to write or if your writing is “good enough”. If you are passionate about something, it will show and you will grow a following.
Can you share about the other projects you are involved with in Social Media? What motivated you to be involved with them?
When I started my blog, I knew I would need a platform to share my posts. So I started a Facebook page and an Instagram account the same day I started my blog. When thinking about my tagline, what came to me was “let’s do this together”.
From the beginning I wanted to bring people along with me. And after a year of struggling to find other Over 50 people, I started a group on Facebook called Instagram Over 50.
The goal of this group is to help all of us Over 50 understand and grow our Instagram accounts…together. It has been one of the best things I’ve done for my community.
If you had a dream come true next leg of the journey, what might that look like personally and professionally?
To travel the world with my husband, John and write about our adventures. I want to show the world that just because we are over 50 or 60 it doesn’t mean we can’t be adventurous.
I would also love to see my books in bookstores and be able to do a book tour and meet all of my readers.
What are 3 things you want to include in your life story that haven’t happened yet?
Hmmm…that is a great question. I would love to see us in a little cottage near the Shannon River in Ireland for a few years.
I’ve said for years that I’m going to give a TED talk, so I better add that to the list.
And most of all, I want a commune. I want land that all of the people I love in my life can come and stay for a while. A place to rest, recover, and rewire.
Here are several ways you can follow Loretta on social media:
- Blog: Loretta’s Countdown To 60
- Instagram: @countdownto60
- Facebook: @lorettascountdownto60
- Facebook Group: Instagram Over 50
- Twitter: @countdown60
- YouTube: Loretta Sayers
Loretta is also an amazing event planner, and she was responsible for leading out much of the event I shared with you a few weeks ago, FierceCon 2018 in Redondo Beach. If you recall I was suppose to attend with my sister Stacey, but she got very ill at the last minute and could not attend. She is the one in the family who is blessed with the skills to find her way around anywhere! Not me! So, alone without my sister, I still wanted to head to Santa Barbara after the event ended, and Loretta invited me to breakfast (she is from Santa Barbara). It was the morning after the event, and she toured me all over Santa Barbara! What a treat!
We started with breakfast at Jeanines, on Figueroa St, and ate outdoors in this adorable courtyard called “La Arcada” complete with gorgeous fountains, statues, and charming shops!
Some of the shops in La Arcada.
Those are turtles in the fountain!
And below some of the amazing statues, so charming, right in among the shops and restaurants!
Everywhere you looked was beauty and charm, and the smile never left my face!
That is a statue of a man with his child on his shoulders. It captures the wonder of this beautiful place!
We walked down the street and Loretta explained that in October, there is an event in Santa Barbara called “Pianos on State”. Pianos are painted by local artists with beautiful creative themes, and placed in various locations along State Street accessible to the public. Anyone is welcome to sit down and play these pianos. Such fun!
Magnificent trees lining the streets of Santa Barbara
She took me to visit the Santa Barbara Courthouse, a historic and beautiful courthouse built in 1929 and still operating as a courthouse! The giant clocktower which faces in 4 directions towers high, and you can see me in the picture below to give some scope of how huge this building is.
Inside are beautiful gardens and paintings and architecture that are literally breathtaking!
The view from the clock tower.
Within the building is a phenomenal room known as the The Courthouse Mural Room.
All four walls are painted with over 6700 square feet of mural, telling a history.
From there, we went to the Mission, and her husband John joined us. Before we went in, Loretta showed me this huge lush pepper tree.
Those are the peppers (or peppercorns?) I honestly never knew there was a pepper tree.
These are gardens inside the Mission. The Mission was established by Spanish Franciscans in 1786.
There is a palpable angst of the struggle of what this meant for the native people of this area. It is a part of the history, as in all history, wrought with good and bad and you can feel a sense of quiet retrospect as you walk the many gardens.
Next Loretta took me to the Santa Barbara Moreton Bay Fig Tree. I’ve never seen a fig tree. This is the biggest fig tree in the U.S.
Check out the roots of this tree! The story is that a seaman presented a seedling tree of an Australian Moreton Bay Fig Tree to a local girl in Santa Barbara in 1876. She planted it on State Street. And she moved away. A year later, her friend transplanted the tree just a few blocks from the ocean. I guess it liked its new location! The average crown of the top of this tree spreads 176 feet! And the roots are in some places 4 ft above ground!
Can you see how huge and heavy those bow branches are?
She showed me the figs.
Her husband cut one open, and fearless Loretta tasted it. That is one very large tree!
Finally they took me to Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, built in 1872. On the wharf were all kinds of cute shops and places to eat. But we were running short on time if I was to make it back to L.A. before dark.
A large compass rose is painted on the wharf.
Breathtaking views of Santa Barbara, and the ocean.
They gave me a hug and I knew I had an adventure ahead navigating back to L.A. and turning in my rental car etc. So with a heart full of exciting and wonderful memories of this adventure, we said our goodbyes and I was off. But I think I might have to return one day!
What a thrill this adventure was! And you know it just supercharged my spirits! Yes I was a bit nervous about traveling on my own, but with the help of some kind people like Loretta and her husband John, and so many other very kind folks in Santa Barbara, this excursion is now one of my favorite memories!
Isn’t it lovely to discover new places and share them with someone? All the while I was there, I was sending pictures and texts to my family. Life is so chock full of excitement and adventure! And with a little planning, you can do it without too much difficulty!
I encourage you if it’s been awhile since you’ve gone and explored someplace new, get out there and go for it! Live! It is transforming and energizing! Maybe explore Santa Barbara! Maybe a town just an hour away! Or go for a hike! But there is so much out there to take in and learn and enjoy! I hope you enjoyed this little adventure story. I surely did!
Many thanks to my friend Loretta Sayers Gavin for lavishing me with attention and with the incredible interview!
Have a fantastic weekend!
It’s never too late in life to have a genuine adventure. ~Robert Kurson
Places I link up: