Thank you to two of my blogging friends Hilda Smith and Robin Lamonte who both nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Hilda and Robin are loyal insta-friends who I very much look forward to meeting one day. We've followed each other on social media for a while as women of a certain age with something to say… which we do via our blogs! I’m greatly chuffed that fellow bloggers like my work, the nomination is a lovely surprise.
The purpose of the award is to get to know other bloggers who bring sunshine to the blogging community and inspire by their creativity and positive outlook.
Hilda's blog is an absolute delight, covering everything from her home country of Ireland and beyond, style, beauty and midlife wellness. Her cheerful easy manner will certainly bring sunshine to your day, stop by Over the Hilda and see for yourself!
Robin is a skilled interior designer whose eye for style goes way beyond interiors. Her boundless energy and commitment to wellness as we age and her bright and positive attitude makes her blog a go-to for living our best midlife! Meet Robin over at Hello I'm 50ish.
I was further surprised yesterday by another lovely lady who gave me a nomination. Thank you Lisa from Midlife in Bloom. Lisa's blog is as charming as she is in person, I've had the pleasure of meeting her so I know first hand. I am feeling thoroughly spoiled!
as part of the award I was asked some questions:
Why did you start a blog?
My fifties brought about a sense of discontent with a longing to embark on something new and exciting. Running a business that I’d started fifteen years prior to blogging was getting old and less exciting as the years rolled on, burned-out is a phrase that comes to mind!
I accidentally stumbled upon a fashion blog and learned that this was the way forward for brands to advertise and people to shop online. With a lifelong interest in fashion, along with numerous other things I enjoy, writing being one of them, re-inventing myself being another, I decided there was room for this old blogger to join the party!
How did you come up with the name for your blog?
I spent weeks thinking about this as I went about my business. I wanted something catchy, fun and at the same time felt was 'me'. I had lots of ideas all which hubby screwed his nose up at. Then one day it came to me, just popped into my head (as most of my best ideas do) … Above and Beblonde, hubby’s nose stayed still and his head began nodding in a gingerly motion of agreement. Sorted! I've always been blonde, I always strive to go above and beyond, and it was fun and catchy!
How do you get the ideas for your posts?
Things I see in the fashion industry such as a new trend and style. If I love it and would wear it I'm inspired to write about it. I really do wear what I like and not what a woman in her late fifties is pigeon holed into wearing.
I glean a lot from the comments people leave on my daily Instagram posts, recognizing that things I take for granted other people look for help with, those things may turn into blog posts!
Tennis and my general outdoorsy active lifestyle are easy topics, I hope to encourage women to be more active as we age.
Tell me five fun facts about yourself
my nominees for a sunshine blogger award:
Lisa King - The Fulfilled Pharmacist - Lisa is a health and wellness advocate with a wealth of experience in living a wholesome and fulfilled life. She is one of the sweetest women I know and a genuine ray of sunshine.
Kimberly Frick - The Real Golden Girl - Just looking at any of Kimberley's fashion posts will make you smile with her gorgeous photos, impeccable style and fabulous use of color.
Katherine Manley - Divining Style - Katherine has the best sense of humor and has me laughing almost daily with her musings of life in general, and if anyone knows how to style a fabulous dress, Katherine does.
Each one of these ladies will bring a ray of sunshine to your world.
the questions for my nominees:
rules for this award:
In the never-ending struggle of wardrobe maintenance, ensuring a perfect outfit for every occasion from walking the dog in monsoon rains, attending a fashion show on a balmy spring evening and battling the furnace that is Arizona in the middle of an August day… let’s just say I have my work cut out.
Not only can this be a costly endeavor but an overcrowded one, and with neither a pile of money or a spacious closet, strategic measures must be taken.
Thanks to Marie Kondo, letting go of the things we don’t ‘love’ has become an appealing option! However, I don’t love my no-show socks, but I need them so I would be mindful about getting rid of everything you don’t love. The key is to hold onto the essential basics (no-show socks included), timeless classics, the pieces that never date and lots of accessories – all of which can create oodles of outfits (except for no-show socks) whilst taking up very little space.
The biggest downfall is when we buy something that we already own! The new one is deemed better in some way, whether it be fit, style, color or whatever it was that drove us to make the purchase. The chances are you’re not going to wear the old one anymore making it redundant, so before your closet becomes closet chaos, pull out the displaced pieces and decide whether to sell or donate.
to sell or to donate? that is the question!
The reason I suggest selling is because it brings in a few extra pennies from heaven, cha-ching! This supports your fashionista habit, it brings down the average cost per wear of the clothes you buy and extends their life to someone who will continue to love them. It’s a win-win situation.
Here's my criterion in deciding whether to sell or donate:
There are many on-line auction sites, but E-Bay remains one of the best. I’ve been using E-bay for several years, it’s relatively easy using their free phone app. Snap some good pictures of the item for sale, upload to the app, write a detailed description and include any faults with the item, weigh it (including packaging) to establish the buyers shipping cost and list it! I have a lot more recommendations on listing items on E-bay, but that’s another blog post! Let me know in comments if you want me to cover that topic.
It’s not just designer labels that sell on E-bay. It’s anything popular, trending, well known brands (including inexpensive brands like H&M). Zara sells well on the used market place, another great reason why I love to shop at Zara! Lululemon has continuously been a fast and easy sell on E-bay for several years.
You can also sell via consignment stores, but you make a fraction of the money as they take a very large cut of the sale, however they also do all the work and have the cost of overheads, so it’s fair! Click HERE to learn everything you need to know about consignment.
make what you buy work hard
Choose what you buy carefully keeping versatility in mind. Can it be worn a myriad of ways, for different occasions or events? Dressed up, dressed down, and anywhere in between… all goes to ensure you have different outfits from one new purchase when mixed and matched with your existing wardrobe. First thing I do with a new purchase is have a try-on session creating different looks with pieces from my closet. If it doesn’t measure up in the versatility department, it goes back.
Sometimes our favorite clothes just get tired as trends move on, in need of a face lift to feel fresh again (I know the feeling)! No worries, fresh can be just a few nips and tucks away! Check out this blog post (DIY - High Low Hem Jeans) on updating old jeans to a trendy new hem line.
Consider modifications to bring back that loving feeling, like replacing buttons to something new. Perhaps narrow a kick flare leg to a tapered leg, or shorten a maxi dress to a midi, mini or even tunic length. Adding darts to a billowing shirt or dress to create a more streamlined silhouette. If you can’t do this yourself, find a good tailor. Here’s a link to my blog post (A Tailor Made Fit) that tells you exactly how to do that!
May your closet be the perfect playground for your self-expression and a bottomless pit of appropriate outfits for every occasion all the while staying contained within the confines of it’s walls and your bank balance!
While the fad for easy-care clothing continues, I was recently intrigued by a new offering from a well-known retailer, Chico’s – a white cotton shirt that repels stains, specifically red wine. The brands marketing targets midlife women, which might suggest we are clumsier than our younger counterparts, or perhaps we drink too much resulting in a few tipsy spills?
When style and functionality come together in the form of a trench coat, it's a modern-day fashion fairy-tale! Inevitably such pieces have been around for donkeys’ years and for good reason - everybody loves a fairy-tale! In the ever-fast-moving fashion industry, when something is here for the long haul it's generally worth the investment.
Say hello to my "little" friend... the mini trench coat. In short (pun intended), the fresh and updated version of the classic trench coat, this year's spring must-have, and undoubtedly many more springs to come! And, if you’re old enough to remember the trench coat’s predecessor, you’re welcome to call it a mini mac!
They say when little girls grow up they marry their daddy. I was one of those little girls. I had the best daddy in the world, and now I'm all grown up I have the best husband. I am truly blessed to have experienced only good men in my life, I know there are many women who are not as fortunate.
Kimonos are a blessing to the fashion world. Their ability to add the finishing touch to an otherwise plain outfit is like the icing on the cake! They bring color, drama, texture, movement, an utterly feminine statement and the ultimate top layer of forgiveness to whatever may be going on underneath... like food babies!
Just because you don't get to wear white trousers everyday doesn't mean you don't need a pair. In fact, white pants score high when it comes to evening functions and special occasions giving your look more panache than the common alternative, black pants! They also make the perfect dressy look for day or evening, just tweak how you style them, and you've got versatility nailed.
Would you wear a hat that originated in the 17th century worn by peasants in southern France? How about a hat worn by revolutionary activists or military forces across the globe? If your answer is yes to any or all the above, you are clearly a fashionista with an eye for style!
Never under estimate the skill of a good tailor. A true professional can transform a garment from looking cheap to chic, frumpy to fabulous, ill-fitting to something that alludes to custom made!
Garment fit is crucial to looking our best whatever size and shape we may be. It’s a factor between stylish and style-less, provides the ability to emphasize one’s best attributes and camouflage the others. Skillful stitches with a nip and tuck can turn an outdated garment into a current trend or give an old dress nine lives!
Most of us have been making new year resolutions since we were old enough to decide we wanted to improve or change ourselves in some way. Whether it be a short-term resolution to return to a svelte figure after the over indulgences of the holiday season, or perhaps a more long-term plan to get into a fitness routine, it's a steadfast way to press the reset button in our minds eye and instill some positive inspiration.
Chili and cold weather go hand in hand. It's a tasty bowl of goodness with enough spice to clear the sinuses and warm the cockles of the heart. Eaten by itself topped with all your favorite accoutrements or laid bare on a bed of rice, it's a classic turnkey dish that begs to be made en mass and served every day until it's gone... or freeze for later enjoyment!
Here's a twist on the traditional recipe forsaking the beans and making it Keto friendly. I'm not a rigid Keto dieter, I simply prefer this version as it makes me feel less blah after eating it! And, if you are following a Keto diet, the cauliflower rice suggestion is a delicious nutritional accompaniment.
The current obsession with animal print is rather like a number one hit record. Every time you turn on the radio, it's that song playing again and everywhere you look, it's animal print again!
Before the numbness sets in and we go off it altogether, the fashion powers that be have decided to spice things up! What better way than to throw in some unexpected colors. Rich deep reds, blues, greens and yellows are now sporting our beloved leopard spots and snake prints, yes indeed... step aside neutrals, colored prints matter!
Let's slip into something more comfortable, shall we? With the holidays fast approaching, we don't want to feel trussed up like a Butterball turkey in our party regalia. If you prefer the holidays with free-range rather than restricted movement, fearing your outfit may tear, snag, catch on something or simply bust open at the seams in its efforts to relieve itself of your person, then consider a slip dress.
Is it necessary to know our roots for a sense of belonging? We're here already, whatever our ancestral origins are, life goes on and we're part of it! Of course, I'm proud to be British born and bred, and despite living in America and loving it here, I feel my roots lie in the mother land of England. If any other heritage exists besides my obvious British genes, then hopefully the addition of some good old "Heinz 57" variety has benefited me in some way.
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50