40+ and Fabulous Moving Foward, Fierce, Focused and Full of Life by Sondra Wright

Moving forward fierce, focused and full of life!

40+ and Fabulous Moving Foward, Fierce, Focused and Full of Life by Sondra Wright - Moving forward fierce, focused and full of life!

40 Plus and Fabulous to Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8

Happy Women's Day background with text 8th March.Embracing every decade of life and challenging the status quo of what it means to be an “older” woman in America. That will be the core message on March 8 as 40 Plus and Fabulous celebrates International Women’s Day with its 3rd Annual FabU Academy Lifestyle Empowerment Conference. The event will be a day of workshops designed to promote positive aging and enhance the lives of women forty and over.

This year’s event takes place on International Women’s Day. The goal is to help women make smart, strategic decisions in areas such as health, retirement finances, family and eldercare, long term care planning, and life balance. Additionally, the long-term impact is to spark creativity and reignite passions, so that positive, significant contributions can continue to be realized through social responsibility and community service.

Sondra Wright is the CEO of 40 Plus and Fabulous and founder of the FabU Academy Women’s Empowerment Conferences. She is a baby boomer on a mission to inspire equality in aging. “It’s a perfect way to celebrate International Women’s Day. Women are living longer than men but are also more likely in those later years to experience poverty and discrimination. We have to prepare by making smart choices today, but we must also demand greater visibility and better access to resources and opportunities as we grow older,” said Wright.

The daylong event which features presentations, interactive workshops, dancercise, lunch, and a “Bring on the Bling” fashion show begins at 10 am and will be held at The Clarion Hotel, Swing Rd. The 40 Plus and Fabulous Woman of the Year Award will also be awarded, in recognition of the outstanding contributions of a woman within the local community. Registration is required at www.fabuacademy.com; there will be no on site or same day registration.

“Whatever age or stage if life you are in, you are sure to glean something from this event,” Wright said.

She said she believes being a woman over forty is not an over-the-hill ending, but a bold new beginning. “This is an occasion to acknowledge and celebrate past struggles and triumphs, and more importantly, to look ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await us as well as the future generations of women coming behind us.”

The conference is co-sponsored by MetLife of the Carolinas, J W Wright & Associates, M and M Meetings and Event Planning, and SRH Travel.

Want to go?

The FabU Academy Lifestyle Empowerment Conference will be held Saturday March 8, 2014, 10 am – 4pm at the Clarion Hotel, 415 Swing Rd., Greensboro NC. Registration is required at http://fabuacademy.com


Whoever Said Forty was Over the Hill? Bah Humbug!

Whoever made such a statement must have come up the wrong side of it. It’s no wonder people hold such obstructed views of life beyond forty. I was caught off guard when I read a recent article by Leo Stoller who reported that a recent study shows women 40 and over are better off to remain in bad marriages than to divorce.  Regardless of a couple’s reasons for divorce, Stoller’s perspective limits choices and discourages divorce or separation as viable options. I was in an unhappy marriage once and let me tell you, it is a lonely place to be.

The article’s far-fetched divorce statistics states: (1) Women 40 and over will gain an average of twenty-three pounds after divorce (Humph! When I divorced, I shedded the 225-pound-dud and a few pounds of my own!) (2) Out of 5,679 women studied, only 9 percent remarried. (3)  Women in divorce situations can expect to live alone for the rest of their lives and settle for pets as their companions and friends.

Stoller says one need only scroll through “any neighborhood in any city and observe ‘all’ of the middle-aged women walking dogs to confirm this fact.”   ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I hate to nullify these fictitious, far-fetched, and unrealistic claims (actually I take pleasure in doing so), but going to any neighborhood in any city scoping out middle-aged women walking dogs proves nothing. How does this say, “I’m over forty, divorced, can’t get remarried, so I’ll settle for my dog!”?  I guess Stoller didn’t take into account happily married over 40 women who simply enjoys walking their dog, or the “middle-aged woman” who walks her dog to keep fit. Stoller closes his article with a quote from Susan Sarandon: “Women over forty are invisible to men.” Oh, say it ain’t so!

Stoller’s argument is neither neutral nor objective. He seems to have a closed-minded opinion of women 40 and over and was far short of inspiring. Who convinced him that women over forty are limited in companionship to that from a K-9?

Healthy women over forty live fulfilled lives. Women do bounce back from drastic lifestyle changes after forty. Divorce and women is not synonymous with old maid. Women don’t have to fall into potential ruts. For example, women and weight loss has long been a sore spot, but it isn’t a point of no return if women gain a few pounds beyond forty.

There are actions that help avoid “after 40 ruts:”

1.  Avoid letting your circle of friends go stale. Refresh your social circle often by making and socializing with friends who hold different views. It makes for interesting dialog.

2.  Exercise and stay active. Exercising keeps the body toned and fit. It increases energy, stamina, and body confidence. Determine the healthy weight for women of your height and work toward your goal.

3.  Say goodbye to frumpy, dumpy, and grumpy. Are you long overdue for a wardrobe and attitude overhaul? Think textiles, patterns, colors, and NEW! When you look better, you feel better, and others notice you.

4.  Turn on the charm and have a little fun. Nothing keeps women over forty feeling younger, sexier, and vibrant than a healthy dose of flirtatious compliments. Complimenting others makes them feel good and they take notice of you.

Undoubtedly, remaining positive is important to combatting over forty ruts. Your perspective and outlook are key to staying fabulous after forty and enjoying all that life still has in store for you!


Jennifer Nicole Lee – Busted in a “Tale of Fitness” on 20/20!

I pride myself on being somewhat marketing savvy. I mean, I know to believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see. I know there are deceptive practices in advertising and companies “stretch” the truth to sell products.  I even know to be guided by the Latin doctrine, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). But none of my knowing curbed my awe on Friday evening, as I watched 20/20 in disbelief – eyes unblinking and mouth wide open!

36 year old Jennifer Nicole Lee – so called “fitness expert” on the TV infomercial circuit who can be seen on any night of the week pitching the popular exercise gadget, Ab Circle Pro. Widely known for her 70lb weight loss success story, a quick internet search reveals Ms. Lee has been crowned with titles like “Hottest Women on the Web” “Sexiest Woman on YouTube,” and according to Askmen.com, “Jennifer is the new beauty icon for women of the future.” I on the other hand am about to crown Ms. Lee with a new title – Fitness Liar Exposed and Busted on 20/20!

As the 20/20 story goes, in 2006 Ms. Lee appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show telling Oprah and the world about her baby weight loss success and even demonstrated how she maintains beautifully toned legs doing weighted squats with her toddler Dillon. Inspiring and easy enough for any busy mom to do, right ladies? Fast forward to Ms. Lee becoming the spokesperson for Ab Circle Pro and little Dillon get’s “thrown under the bus” so to speak. Suddenly, all credit for the post baby weight loss success is now given to Ab Circle Pro. But wait Ms. Lee, how could that be? Because as 20/20 points out the 2004 weight loss occurred a good 4 – 5 years before Ab Circle Pro would even hit the market.

When 20/20 reporter Jim Avila went to Ms. Lee with her EXACT  infomercial quotes she accused him of  a “grill fest” trying to “skewer” her and “put words” in her mouth. And Ms. Lee remained in denial about her actions as well as other misleading aspects of the infomercial, including the “3-minutes a day” claim, and the altered before photos which made images of people appear larger than what they are.

Ms. Lee is clearly so self absorbed I expect she is oblivious to the harm she does in perpetuating false and impossible standards for women to live up to. Standards that everyday women use as a yardstick to measure themselves by and question “What’s wrong with me?” when they can’t achieve the same or similar outcomes.

20/20 as always we’re grateful for the way you drag the snakes out of the shade and expose them to the light for all the world to see.


Is Hollywood Hoping to End the Stigma Around Aging?

This was the question posed by co-hosts, Kylie Gillies and Larry Emdur, of Australia TV’s Morning Show

With the TV and movie culture playing such a huge role in the way women see themselves this is a societal shift and a huge win for women that can not come to soon.

Not only do we need to address the physical aspects of aging but I long to hear celebs speak out about the mental, spiritual, social and emotional midlife transitions they’re experiencing as well.

Exactly the reason I squealed with delight when I heard Liz Hurly comment on aging at the Fabulous At Every Age Gala in New York.

I think we really have to learn to get what we can out of every decade we go through; really get the benefits of each one. I’m in my mid-forties and I’ve never been happier.”

Kate Halfpenny, Executive Director of Who Magazine admits that a few years ago they would not have put a 40 year old woman on the cover of their magazine.

Fashion Commentator, Melissa Hoyer, had this to say, “With women over forty there’s an experience that comes with them that I think Hollywood has suddenly got and I think we’re all getting as well. That obsession that so many people had with 20-something year olds is sort of waning.”

Celebrities mentioned during the segment include 46 year old Sandra Bullock, Susan Sarandon “all woman” at 64, and 41 year old Jennifer Lopez, who was just named People Magazines most beautiful woman in the world. Congratulations J-Lo!

View the full 4 minute segment online at The Morning Show.


Finally Found Your Voice? Don’t Let Your Tongue Ruin it For You

Remember women like your sassy older aunts, the seemingly frail church ladies, or the nosey “neighbor lady” who was always ready to tattle on you? You know, the ones who would blurt out the darndest things, anytime… anywhere – and get away with it? It often seems that being an “old lady” has it privileges, at least when it comes to speaking your mind without apology and with little to no regard for anyone else’s feelings.

As women, many of us live the majority of our lives not getting what we want, simply because we don’t ask for it. We’re so afraid of offending someone, not being liked, or being perceived as overly aggressive, that our true feelings get suppressed and many of our needs go unmet. Somewhere around 40ish we find that buried voice and start making up for lost time. The question is, is that new outspokenness serving our communication or sabotaging it?

I’ve met some wonderful women who, after discovering the voice of their true selves, have become “deliciously” outspoken in midlife. I’ve also encountered women who are completely fed up from having stifled their wants, needs and desires for far too long. Alas, after a lifetime of being invisible, she has found her voice and she’s not afraid to use it. But it’s not quite that simple. While finding our voice can be one of the best things we ever do, the inability to use that voice effectively can damage relationships with our families, close friends and significant others. It can even be damaging to our health.

Speaking up doesn’t mean being tactless, obnoxious or aggressive. Get your needs met? Absolutely! But never at someone else’s expense. Communication must be fair to be effective and every time we open our mouth, we must take personal responsibility for the things we say.

Here’s a few tips to help you get the most out of your new found voice:

They’re not psychic.. they’re family! People, no matter how much they love us, can not read our minds. It’s our responsibility to let others know what we want and how we feel.

Passive is not pretty. If something isn’t the way you want it to be or if you’re being treated in a way that’s not acceptable for you, make the choice to deal with it. If you choose not to deal with it you forfeit your right to sit around brooding about it. And please, don’t be a “yes” woman, you’ll grow to resent it.

Be open and honest. There’s nothing wrong with wanting someone to do something for us. But using hurt or anger to get your way is a foul play. Hurt and anger are both aggressive communication tactics. When you guilt someone into getting your way, you are using hurt. When you intimidate someone into getting your way, you are using anger. You may gain some short term benefits, but in the long run it’s you who’ll be the biggest loser

Payback is a b$#ch! as the saying goes, but payback is something best left out of your dealings with people. Revenge will age you quickly and take more of a toll on you than the one you’re aiming for. Trying to pay someone back or teach someone a lesson by gossiping, sabotaging, withdrawing attention or affection such as touching, talking, or even sex is no way to get our needs met. Payback sneaks in with the promise of making you feel good but in the end, will leave you wrinkled, lifeless, broke (in spirit) and alone.

Within your voice lies the ultimate creation tool – the power of life and death. If you don’t use your voice you’re not really living. But use it with compassion and you’ll live a life well lived. Live out loud ladies! Live out loud!


Blowing Steam: Real Women Don’t Look Like This

I need to blow a little steam about yesterdays ABC News Entertainment segment called Fabulous Over 40; a slide show of “sexy” over 40 Hollywood celebrities. I’m very aware that a woman’s self confidence in midlife is largely affected by the images she sees in the media – images no real woman could live up to.

The ABC news slide show tells us nothing of the powerful transitions these women are making in midlife but instead emphasizes the physical perfection these starlets have maintained through the years. A physical perfection undoubtedly enhanced by cosmetic surgery, computer retouching, airbrushing or any combination of the aforementioned. What’s fabulous about that?

Yes, we want Hollywood to stop putting actresses out to pasture at 40. Yes, we want Hollywood to stop placing higher value on aging male actors than females. But, we also want the media to realize the role you play in a woman’s self esteem. When you flash these images of women like Bo Derek, Iman, Jennifer Lopez, Elle McPherson, Sarah Jessica Parker as the ideal 40+ female beauties, they should come with a disclaimer “The images you see are not real. They have been digitally enhanced to achieve our idea of perfection.” C’mon, no one looks like this! Even Cindy Crawford once said “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.”

I can’t compete with the Photoshop woman and I don’t want to. Instead, I choose to be me; strong, tall, imperfect, and FABULOUS!


Excuses Be Gone: 95 Year Old Ida Keeling Sets Sprinting Record

Still trying to convince yourself you’re too old to go back to school, start a business, or write that book? Well here’s a story that will make you leave all your excuses at the door. Let me introduce you to Ida Keeling, setting records at 95 years young.

At a track meet last week in northern Manhattan, the 4-foot-6, 83 lb, Bronx native ran a world record, 60 meters in 29.86 seconds.

According to ABC News, Keeling is the oldest woman to break this record.

Her daughter Shelley, a lawyer, real estate investor, and high school track coach, convinced her mother to take up running at 67.

Since then, Keeling has been on the move,  setting record after record, and becoming one of the world’s oldest sprinting legends. According to ABC, in 2010 she set the record for the world’s fastest sprint in the 90-and-over age category.

Keeling says. “I feel younger now than when I was in my 30s and 40s and had all those problems.!”

Isn’t she just fab?


Ole Skool Dance Crew Brings Flavor and SASS to 40 Plus


The Ole Skool Crew is all that and then some. This fabulous dance team of over 40 women is living proof that we get better with time.

The ladies are a real crowd pleaser as they strut their stuff to old school 70’s and 80’s music at the LA Sparks home games.

Not only is their show entertaining, but it empowers women and squashes the myth that 40 is over the hill.

Traci Hawkins, the 48 year old director of the crew says “Women all around the world, no matter your age, you can get together and anything is possible, if you believe in yourself,”

These 40 and 50 something dancers say they are having the time of their lives and report benefits such as feeling more youthful, increased confidence, and a new outlook on life, as a result of performing with the team.

Hawkins told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin “We like to get out there and show what we’ve got going on and how well we do it after 40,” Hawkins said. “Our most important message is to inspire other men and women who are over 40 that life does not end at that age: It is just beginning. You can reinvent yourself … you can do anything you want to do in life just as long as you put your mind to it and you believe in yourself.”

At the time of this post, the Old Skool Crew Supreme Dance Team is looking for new dancers to join the 2011 team.  Additional information is available by visiting the link above.


The Age of Knowing How to Get Things Done

As we journey through the stages of life, our individual travels eventually lead us all to the same fork in the road. It’s a place where we pause to check our life compass; take stock of where we’ve been, look at where we are, and question which path we want to take with the rest of our lives.

We each look for the answers in our own unique ways. For me, it has meant many a night on my knees asking God, “Who am I, what is my purpose here, am I contributing anything meaningful to the world?”

What about you? Are you sleepwalking through life, or are you filled with a desire to find and fulfill your purpose? I believe were all connected; we’re all interdependent, we’re all depending on each other, and if you don’t figure out what your purpose is, and contribute it to society, that missing piece will have a ripple effect on society as a whole. People are missing out because of you.

Life opens up when you do!

Somebody is reading this and thinking that your time has passed. That you have put your dreams off too long, or missed your opportunity, and there is no way possible for you to get there now. I want to challenge your thinking.

This is the age of knowing how to get things done. Take one step towards your purpose, and watch God take two. Watch Him put the right people in your path who will help you fulfill the dream.

Pursue your passion with the confidence of experience at your back. Your entire life has been in preparation for this moment. Raising a family and managing a household, making executive level decisions, and everything in between, has ALL been relevant. You’ve been training, you’ve been conditioning, and you’ll never be more ready than you are right now.


Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you like the person you see? Is she smart, confident, beautiful, sexy?

With so many unrealistic expectations of beauty in our world, it’s no surprise that the majority of women are dissatisfied with their appearance. But comparing yourself to others, is a self-defeating behavior, that only reinforces false beliefs you have about yourself, and completely robs you of your confidence, and self esteem

I used to have a habit of putting my hands over my nose when I smiled. When I was younger, my cousins called me “biscuit nose” for the wide, flat appearance my nose has, especially when I grin. Laughing or smiling, which I love to do, just makes it spread even more wide and flat across my face, so I had two choices; stop smiling, or cover it up. It soon became a part of me, to just cover my nose whenever I smiled. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my nose. I just declared my nose unattractive because someone else had decided that it didn’t seem to fit the “normal” for noses.

Thankfully, aging has gifted me with wisdom, and a self-love, that I didn’t possess in my youth. In her song, Just Fine, when Mary J. Blige says “I like what I see when I’m looking at me when I’m walking past the mirror,” she is talking to me and about me. Whether I’m looking in the mirror, a spoon, or a piece of aluminum foil, I am completely in love with the woman I see.

The reflection is no different, she’s still me. The nose is still the same, but I no longer hide it. The hips and thighs have a little more jiggle these days, but I earned the right to juggle. And if you catch me on a good day, I’ll strip down naked and make it jiggle intentionally. The reflection is the same but the woman who owns it is different. She grew up and decided that no one else had the right to define her beauty, shake her confidence, or steal her joy.

I love me. I am proud of the woman I am, the things that I have accomplished, and the direction my life is taking. Why should I live my life feeling inadequate because of other people’s hang-ups? No one should. If there’s something you want to change, change it, but change it for yourself. Otherwise, be realistic about it, come to terms with it, and learn to love all those so-called little “imperfections” that make you, you.

Here’s to you – the woman you are, the woman you’re becoming, and to being happy in your own skin. Salute!