Kathy Vanna is the 2018 Winner of The This…I….Do…For…Me Annual Makeover Contest!
This year I posed this question: What country would you like to visit in the next three years? The answers ranged from Italy 🇮🇹 to Scotland 🏴 from Ghana 🇬🇭 to Switzerland 🇨🇭.
The participation and response was phenomenal, and it was confirmation that women age 50+ really do desire to travel.
Periodically, I will run a little contest with the express purpose of posing a question relative to travel. I want you to think about travel; I want you to dream of traveling somewhere, even if it’s not a place on your bucket list.
It’s easy to get caught up in our day to day obligatory routines and tasks, and for this reason I want you to commit to learning about a new country and their customs.
This truly represents ta makeover — a makeover of our minds!
If you would like to travel with This…I…Do…For…Me crew, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s seems that the closer it has gotten to the release of Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming,” the further away its debut seemed. It is probably just that I am ultra excited to read it. I’m not expecting any juicy revelations nor am I looking to hear about events I already know about.
What I am expecting to hear and learn about is how she reacted to some of the most demanding experiences any former First Lady of the United States has faced. To what degree did she shrug things off or really buried/internalized hurt feelings in order to forge ahead with her duties?
I am mostly interested in learning about the influences that allowed her to become the woman that she is — what manner of woman could withstand the extra scrutiny assigned to an African American First Lady? What manner of woman could still remain poised in the midst of extreme criticism and name calling?
Maybe I am looking for the validation that shows that my upbringing is very similar to Mrs. Obama. Maybe just maybe she is the mirror that reflects who I really am. Yeah, that is why I want to read this memoir.
I, like so many jazz fans learned of the passing of Jazz Trumpeter Roy Hargrove. He was 49 years old. I have been following Hargrove since he hit the scene in the late 90s, and when I first heard him play, I felt like the future of Jazz wS in good hands.
Thank you, Roy for the joy and love you brought to this world.
From September 12-21, 2018, I, along with 13 other daring and bold women journeyed to Athens, Mykonos and Santorini, Greece! Ironically, Greece was never on my list of places to visit, but it has now taken the coveted position of being one of the countries I’ve enjoyed the most!
From its amazing food, fresh fruits and vegetables to cultural events like the Breaking of the Plates Cultural Dance to major historic sites (I still can’t believe that I climbed the steps to The Parthenon), Greece is one beautiful place! The sky is a blue that I’ve never seen before. The water is a blue that I’ve never seen before, and the serenity that I experienced there was unparalleled.
The people are warm and eager to share their culture, and if you just want to relax and just people watch, the cities/islands of Athens, Mykonos and Santorini are perfect places.
Add this jewel of a city to your “Must Do” list. You will return a new person and wanting to return for more.
Enjoy the photos!
After planning for 18 months, I and 13 other women are on our way to three stops in Greece — Athens, Mykonos and Santorini!
From the famed Acropolis to The Plaka to Island Dinner Cruises, we will see the best that Greece has to offer. Not only are we excited about our optional excursions that will take us to Delphi and Hydra, but we are equally excited about just being able to take in the sights and and sounds of the streets of this country filled with life loving Grecians who are going about their daily lives.
Are you interested in traveling abroad or taking in a variety of cultural event right here in the heart of Chicago? Contact me about any of This…I…Do…For…Me’s upcoming excursions and outings.
August 21-24, 2018 was a most enlightening week as six delegates from Shanghai, China visited the City of Chicago through The Chicago Sister Cities Program. Members of the Chicago Shanghai Social Services Committee welcomed the delegation and a translator to the world of senior/elder services as administered by the state of Illinois and the City of Chicago.
Planning for this esteemed delegation took place over the course of one year. We aimed to provide the delegates with the most comprehensive view of service delivery models from the federal, state and local levels. Additionally, the planning committee ensured that our guests were exposed to a variety of the milieus that seniors interface with in their day to day lives.
The delegates visited Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Little Brothers -Friends of the Elderly Chicago, The Chinese American Service League, Cook County Public Guardian’s Office, World Business Chicago, Three Crowns, The Clare Senior Independent Living Community.
The week culminated with an International Symposium that focused on how to integrate community-based inter-professional care and services to optimize the health and well-being of older adults.
Conversely, we learned a lot from listening to how things are done on behalf of seniors in Shanghai. Next year a group of Chicago Senior Services professionals will travel to Shanghai, and their lives will change forever.
A professional and cultural exchange of this magnitude certainly creates bonds of unity and promotes a world of sharing. We are all grateful.
As we get older and consciously work to reduce our stress levels, I am always looking for ways to get the most out of life without expending a lot of energy to do so.
Take cooking as an example — I love good food with fresh ingredients. I love savoring a delectable meal, and there are times when I truly desire to make a really complex meal — you know the kind of meals that require a double boiler or Cream of Tartar (LOL). However, for those times that I want a quick and dirty meal, yet delicious and healthy, I am open to other ways without compromising on quality
Kweli Kitwana, a regular contributor to this blog shows us how to make good and simple pasta.
She says, “this is way too easy to make from scratch. With only three ingredients — a pinch of salt, flour and eggs — you can’t get easier than that.
Mix, roll out with a rolling pen and cut very, very thinly with a pizza cutter. Bring water to a boil (with a pinch of salt) and submerge pasta until al dente (cooked but slightly firm). You will find that this is the best tasting pasta ever!”
Kweli also makes her own tomato sauce. This truly is an example of This…I…Do…For…Me!
I happen to live in an amazingly diverse community where economic and cultural/ethnic social status meet.
At my local public transit station there is a weekend flea market. It’s a market that is truly filled with random oddities and enticing fare. Seriously, you can get a full body Thai massage, West African cuisine and authentic Ghanaian Bolga baskets. You can even get a pair of real mohair socks. All of this is accompanied by a serious drumming circle. It’s an amazing experience.
Exploring one’s community is one way of understanding who you are. We are rooted by where we ultimately settle geographically. I’ve always felt that one way of truly connecting with self and others is taking in the essence and nuances of where one finds him/herself.
Today, I’m bringing home my meal from the market. I’m spreading it on top of my South African fabric from my travels, and inviting a friend over to share this meal, along with a glass of Hibiscus 🌺 Gin Tonic — just because.
Guest Blogger Kweli Kitwana prepares a table before us replete with the love and care that we need to apply to our lives daily. Sometimes it’s the simple indulgences and the simple activities that bring us the most joy.
Would you take the time to prepare a beautiful tray of food for yourself? You know — those special trays of foods, laid out perfectly and thoughtfully to impress others but now we are aiming to do it for for ourselves?
We spend an enormous amount of time “pleasing” others. Whether it’s our partners, family or friends, it’s not common to take extra steps to ensure their enjoyment and pleasures of indulgence.
But what about yourself? Would you make these same efforts to bring this same joy to yourself? I often hear myself saying these words, “I get much pleasure from doing things for others.”
Believe me, I truly like to do things for me — without fanfare or exhibition, but as I prepare a tray of snacks for my reading ritual, I am very conscious that I am doing this for me. Each choice of food that I make, every piece that I slice and even right down to the arrangement of my snacks, the personal choices I make to please and stimulate my loving heart for myself are consciously done.
We don’t need to eat out of bags or over sinks just because we are not in the presence of others. We can take time to mindfully care for ourselves because WE DESERVE IT!
Kweli is an artist living in the Bay Area and committed to getting the most out of life.
The beauty that I am speaking of is the beauty that is inherent in almost everything we do — even if we are not consciously aware of it.
With many of our burdens lifted at this stage of life, we are thinking with greater clarity, we feel with an intensity not experienced before, and we view problems differently and handle them knowing that the end of the world is not forthcoming.
Rather than being counseled, we now counsel and mentor others. Rather than trying to solve problems on our own, we engage the strengths of others thereby sending out the signal that they, too, have the wherewithal to survive and thrive. Rather than mull a potential decision in our heads over and over, we make the best possible decision based on the best information we have available at the time.
We are not looking to get anything from others, nor do we have hard core expectations. We are more about the business of giving than expecting anything in return, especially for that which we gladly share freely.
We now know through our increased confidence that as women age 50+, we take life as it comes, and we search (not in desperation or anxiety anymore) for meaning in the smallest of gestures and acts.
We are certainly more grateful for the life we have and we no longer yearn for the life we once thought we should have. A light and ephemeral silhouette of all of our experiences now engulfs us, and we are now able to radiate it out to all that come into contact with us.
And for this we are grateful.