{Giveaway} Officina Bernardi Bangle From Raymond Lee Jewelers

Dana Josephson is giving away this exquisite Officina Bernardi sterling silver and platinum bracelet (retail value: $695) from her Florida-based jewelry store, Raymond Lee Jewelers.  Enter to win by answering this question in the comments below: What outfit would you wear this bracelet with?

FOF Dana Josephson owned several retail stores with her ex-husband in Scotland during the 1970s. “We found that people were always drawn to the jewelry cases,” Dana says. When Dana and her former husband decided to move to sunny South Florida for better weather in 1983, the two agreed to use their retail experience and love of jewelry to start a new business.

The couple opened Raymond Lee Jewelers (named after Dana’s son) that same year. The store started out as a small operation, with Dana, her former husband, their daughter and son all working together. “We learned our customers’ personal styles,” says Dana. “When we’d get something in that we thought they would really like, we’d give them a call, and they’d come in to see it.”

After noticing her competitors starting to sell jewelry online, Dana opened up shop online too, in the early 2000s, with the website, RaymondLeeJewelers.net. The e-commerce site features a unique diamond search section, where customers can search Dana’s inventory by price, carat weight, color, and clarity. They ship all over the world, and have loyal customers everywhere from Asia to Australia.

In addition to carrying newer designer pieces, Raymond Lee Jewelers is also a jewelry estate buyer–they purchase unique, one-of-kind, pre-owned precious pieces from around the world and carry them in the store and online. “We carry secondhand, upscale pieces that you don’t see everywhere, and aren’t mass produced. You can buy a lot of pieces and spend a lot less money. We have five times more inventory than most other jewelry stores.”

Enter to win this Officina Bernardi sterling silver and platinum bracelet by answering this question in the comments below: what outfit would you wear this bracelet with?


One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes February 21st, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Career} 9 Incredibly Unconventional Jobs Held by Real FOFs

Designing the perfect car cupholder, creating a new cut of meat, telepathically speaking to animals, working with celebrities–all in a days work for these extraordinary FOFs! Read on to find out some of the wackiest careers we’ve come across, and find out what a day in the life is like for these women who strayed from the typical 9-5.

—————————————————————————————————

Kari UnderlyIllinois
Butcher

Kari Underly comes from a bloodline of…meat. Both her grandparents, as well as her father, were butchers. In fact, it was Kari’s dad who first exposed her to the business. “My first paid job was one my dad told me about at the meat department of the local grocery store,” says Kari. “I was really excited, until I showed up and found out my job was cleaning up after the meat production was done for the day. I worked hard and moved up the ranks to the corporate level.”

Kari applied to Martin’s Super Markets meat cutting apprenticeship program. After being denied three times, Kari was finally accepted and trained for three years. She eventually became the meat and seafood merchandiser at Martin’s.”I’ve always worked mostly with men,” says Kari, “and at every level there was a bit of having to prove myself.”

Kari earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 1992. She worked pricing, buying and marketing meat for various companies. In 2002, she founded Range Inc.–a company dedicated to research and education of meat cutting and merchandising. The company partners and works with farmers, commodity boards, grocery stores executives, chefs, butchers, and consumers on a variety of projects. Through Range Inc., Kari has even worked to develop new cuts of meat. “Many consumers are familiar with the Flat Iron steak, Denver Cut, Ribeye Cap, and Ribeye Filet,” says Kari. “Range actually helped to develop and market these cuts…by teaching consumers how to cut and best prepare them at home.”

Kari published her first book, “The Art of Beef Cutting,” in August of 2011, which was nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award. “People kept asking me if I had a book or manual. I began documenting, hired a photographer and started cutting. It’s a great tool, especially for the person who has mastered the grill and wants to experiment with at-home meat cutting.”

—————————————————————————————————

Dr. Emily BlakeNew York
Mohel

Dr. Emily Blake was working as an OB/GYN when she began to feel she wasn’t being given enough time to perform one of her very important job responsibilities. “I was doing a number of circumcisions, and there was a lot of pressure to see patients quickly. It was very frustrating to me as a physician,” says Emily. “At the same time, my Judaism was becoming more and more important to me.”

Emily became a certified Mohel in 1990 –someone of the Jewish faith who is trained in the practice of the Jewish ceremony of brit milah or the “covenant of circumcision.” Since making the transition from part-time to full-time mohel in 2000, Emily’s days consist of speaking with potential clients who are expecting babies, designing a brit milah ceremony that best suits the family, and even helping choose a Hebrew name for the baby.

“I get most of my calls from families who are Jewish,” says Emily, “but occasionally I’ll get phone calls from families who are not Jewish but are either delivering with a midwife who is unable to do circumcisions, or they feel like they would like to have a little more gentleness for their son when he’s circumcised, so they decide to have it at home. Sometimes I’m called by families who have a baby girl and we’ll do a naming ceremony [without the surgical aspect.]”

Since she first started practicing as a mohel, Emily estimates that she’s performed over a thousand circumcisions. “Over 90 percent of the babies [I circumcise] literally sleep through it.” says Emily. “I feel it’s part of my calling to do this work. I love that I can do it in a way that makes the family comfortable and send the message that we welcome our children with gentleness and love.”

—————————————————————————————————

Carol Queen, PhDCalifornia
Sexologist

Carol’s interest in human sexuality started in college. “In the 80s, when the HIV epidemic began to really get critical, I realized that there was actually a professional life to be built within sex education and sexuality-related teaching,” says Carol. While Carol was pursuing her degree, she took a job as a salesperson at a store that specializes in sex toys called Good Vibrations. “It always had a really substantial focus on information and education, more than any other store,” says Carol, who loved working there so much that she stayed even after earning her doctorate in Sexology in the mid-90s. At that point, she took on the responsibility of handling media relations for Good Vibrations.

Carol has since taken on many other responsibilities including curator of the Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum.  “We have at least one or two hard crank vibrators that go back to before the turn of the century,” says Carol. “We also have a cluster of very early century vibrators from 1903 to the 1920s.”

“A normal day might consist of responding to any reporters that have reached out to me, attending marketing meetings that involve representing the company to the press, and writing answers to customers who have sex questions,” says Carol. “My colleague and I post the answers on the [Good Vibrations] blog so that other people can learn.”

For any FOFs who are in the market for a new toy, Carol has some advice. “Ask questions about how strong it is, and the best way to use it. Spend a little time alone or with your partner exploring how it feels if you haven’t used one before. Give yourself a learning curve and experiment with various positions, because not all women are the same in their sexuality. Explore yourself.”

—————————————————————————————————

Shannon SeylerFlorida
Obituary Writer and Founder of ObitCity.com

Shannon Seyler was always interested in obituaries. “When I was a kid, it was the first section of the paper I’d read,” says Shannon. “I was just fascinated by life stories. I would read about all these people and feel as if I knew them.”

Shannon pursued a degree in English, and worked as an English tutor and a freshman composition instructor, in addition to being a journalist, but she never lost her love of obits. “I’ve collected them most of my life,” says Shannon, “and I thought, maybe I’ll just put them online and see if anybody is interested. I [did and] got overwhelming amounts of emails from people.”

Shannon’s website, ObitCity.com started with just the Arkansas obituaries from her collection, and has since grown to include all 50 states. Shannon travels all over the U.S. to add to her collection, and has a number of volunteers who send them in. “I go to public libraries and pull them from there. Some are sent in. Other people tell me oral history and I write obituaries off of that.”

What makes ObitCity.com different than most genealogy sites is that it’s free to the public. “So many sites charge people to see obituaries and newspapers cost money, but I’m not charging anybody,”  says Shannon. “We make money off ad revenue.” The site is also interactive. “People can submit obituaries if they like,” says Shannon. “I’ve had people send me huge numbers of obituaries.  Anyone who wants to give their input or send us obits can do so.”

—————————————————————————————————

Nancy DemarcoNew Hampshire
Equine Massage Therapist

Before she became a licensed massage therapist, Nancy Demarco was a horse owner with a problem. “Something was wrong with my horse, and even the vets couldn’t figure it out,” says Nancy. Finally, the vet suggested Nancy “call Jack Meagher.” Jack was the equine massage therapist for the Olympic team at the time. He’s also the founder of the logic and technique of sports massage for humans and horses. Jack came up the next morning to take a look at Nancy’s injured horse. “Within ten minutes, he had fixed it,” says Nancy. “My horse had an old injury in one of his pectoral muscles that was very deep. Jack put his hand behind the horse’s shoulder blade–his hand was buried up to his wrist [in the horse] when he said, ‘Oh there it is!’ I thought ‘Wow, I have got to learn to do that.’”

Before Jack would teach Nancy his technique, he insisted that she attend massage school for humans. “His reasoning was that horses cannot vocalize their pain,” explains Nancy.

So, Nancy went to massage school, worked for a year as a massage therapist for humans, and finally, Jack agreed to teach her his method, which is now taught at the Jack Meagher Institute of Sports Therapy.

Fifteen years later, Nancy works as a freelance massage and equine massage therapist, making calls to horses and humans up to 50 miles away from her home. “They find me,” says Nancy. “I went to do one horse today, and there were about three people there asking, ‘Oh do you have time for another one?'”

—————————————————————————————————

Silvana ClarkAll over the U.S.!
Mobile Marketing Tour Manager

When Silvana Clarke’s daughter, who was 12 years old at the time, returned from a trip to Africa, she started speaking at local churches about her experiences. She received great response in getting churchgoers to donate to the support efforts she had worked on. “We decided to take a year and travel around the United States,” says Silvana. “She could speak at a different church every Sunday.” Lucky enough, the Chevy’s corporate headquarters gave Silvana a truck and an RV at no cost in order to fuel their mission, and in 2002, they toured all over the U.S. for the year speaking at churches.

Silvana and her husband enjoyed being on the road so much, that when their daughter went to college in 2007, they signed on for a 19-month tour with a shoe charity, distributing shoes to those in need in 42 states. “We just loved it,” Silvana says. “So, we made up some cute little postcards–the heading said, ‘We don’t look like your typical young tour managers, but we’re professional to work with!’ A company called us and said it was the best piece of marketing material they had seen, and signed us on for a six-month tour with Avon.'”

“We visited the 23 cities that had been hit by tornadoes in 2011 in Mississippi and Georgia,” says Silvana. “Every day we gave out a thousand bags of [necessities like] deodorant, bug spray, and body wash. These people literally had nothing.”

Last month, Silvana and her husband started another tour with Avon, this time, one that provides outreach in hispanic communities. “My husband and I both have sprinter vans and we’re staying in hotels,” says Silvana. “We rented out our house to this nice family. We have this job until December, and then basically we’re homeless, so in December we’ll be ready for another tour!”

Is mobile touring for every FOF? The perks: “We get paid for this and have no expenses other than our cell phones. We get paid for gas and [are given] a stipend for food,” says Silvana. “But, It takes a special couple. My husband and I are together 24 hours a day; we work together, live together, sleep together.  Every day is different, you never know where you are, you don’t know shortcuts, you can get lost, but we like it. We could do this for quite a few more years.”

Follow Silvana’s journey at www.silvanaclark.com.

—————————————————————————————————

Bev FeldmanCalifornia
Owner and Operator, StarPrompt.TV Teleprompting Service

“It was 1982 and I needed a job,” says Bev, “You know how that is?” Bev graduated from Immaculate Heart College with a degree in Art, and had become tired of life as an artist. She took a job with a teleprompting company that had invented a state-of-the-art, computerized teleprompter. “I was calling producers and getting people to try to use this, and ended up running the company because the three male owners were going to war against each other, while in the meantime I had booked us jobs. I had to go out there with an operator and the equipment and follow through. It was an accidental thing that I fell into but it worked for me.”

Bev got married and had a daughter. When she started working part-time a year later, she got an offer that she couldn’t refuse. “I was at NBC, and they said ‘We really love you, but we don’t like the company you work for, can we get you and not them?’  I said okay, and started my own business and bought my own equipment.”

Today, Bev owns her own company, Starprompt.tv. Her daughter, Silver, and husband Tom work with her part-time. “My job is to get there and affix the teleprompting equipment to the teleprompter,” explains Bev. “We go what’s called ‘through the lens,’ so the talent is looking straight down the barrel into the lens and they look like they’re looking into your living room. We get the script ahead of time, and put it into the software and format it for readability. Once I get there and the talent rehearses, I see their particular way of reading, so I finesse that as well.”

In her 23 years on the job, Bev has worked with celebrities, hosts, anchors, and yes, even one porn star…accidentally. “The [call sheet] said Cinderella Productions,” says Bev,” so I thought, ‘Oh, it’s a kid’s show!’

Whose Bev’s favorite celeb to work with? “Tom Hanks,” she says. “When you’re in a room with him he sees you, you’re not invisible. I had a great conversation with him. He is a delight.”

—————————————————————————————————

Terri JayNevada
Pet Psychic

Terri was using horseback therapy with special needs children in 1990 when she first discovered that she had a gift. “I carried on a delightful conversation with a little boy, and one of the volunteers said to me, ‘Well, you are sure talking great.” The volunteer was making a joke–the boy that Terri had been talking with hadn’t said a word, because he couldn’t. Terri went back in the classroom and saw the boy had typed out on his communication device, “horse lady can hear me.”

“I was in shock,” says Terri, “I was not into any of this, none of it. I was the biggest skeptic in the world.” When Terri told the volunteer what she had read on the boy’s communication device, he asked her, “Why don’t you learn to communicate with the horses then? It’s the same thing.”

Terri was married to a horse trainer at the time, so she had plenty of potential clients to practice on. “I started working on the animals we had coming in,” says Terri, “and then people started calling me and would ask about their horses. I could tell them over the phone what was wrong.”

Today, Teri offers her services as a pet psychic, medium, energy healer, life coach, and grief counselor by appointment through her website, TerriJay.com.  You can view the teaser for her upcoming TV show, Cowgirl Shaman, by clicking here.

—————————————————————————————————

Chris ShinouskisMichigan
Engineering Specialist for Storage at General Motors
a.k.a., “The Cupholder Lady”

Chris initially pursued her degree in chemistry. “I figured I would be doing something in a lab, some sort of research,” she says. “Once in college, I changed my study to Chemical Engineering, because it broadened my future opportunities.”

Upon graduation, Chris started working with General Motors. In her 30 years with the company, she’s held a number of different titles, and worked on many assignments including analyst in a waste-water laboratory, environmental engineer in a manufacturing facility, production supervisor in the plant, materials engineer specializing in plastics, textiles and paints and a manager over material engineering and recyclability.

“I have a passion for in-vehicle storage,” she says. “It’s important to my family, since we spend so much time in vehicles, and I knew it was important to others too. So I worked with one of my managers to develop this function into a separate job.” That separate job title became affectionately referred to by her co-workers as “the cupholder lady.” Chris has many cups covering her desk in all shapes and sizes, as she works to make sure the storage spaces in GM vehicles accommodate a variety of people’s needs.

Being “the cupholder lady” involves a lot of research. “I do research to understand exactly how storage is important to the customer,” says Chris, “to find out what storage areas they like or dislike in their current vehicles and why, what items they’re bringing into their vehicles, how they use those items while they are in the vehicle, and what the sizes [of those items] are.”

So, what’s Chris’s favorite part of being “the cupholder lady?” “I like working on a specific part design to optimize the storage performance,” says Chris. “Making changes of just a few millimeters can significantly change how satisfied the customer will be.”

{Home Tour} An FOF fabric designer works a lifetime of mementos into a sleek, modern space.

When decorating your FOF home, there are often two polar instincts:
(1) Surround yourself with the heartwarming photos, knickknacks, books, art, etc., that you’ve accumulated over 50+ years.
(2) Pare down, and create a calm, clutter-free oasis straight from the pages of Dwell magazine.


.
Meet Lee Olson, who brilliantly managed to do both. FOF Lee is a textile designer and the owner of Yoma, a New York firm that creates fabrics for commercial and residential use. Her vivid designs all begin with her own hand-drawings and are inspired by her travels around the world, to India, Thailand, China and South America.

Her travels have also inspired a lifetime of . . . .shopping. Lee and her husband, Chandler Pierce, a leading architect and furniture designer, have collected a (small) museum’s worth of cultural artifacts and art, including books, brooms, buddhas and baskets.


.
Twelve years ago, the couple purchased a building on a one-block lane straddling SoHo and Little Italy, just behind the former New York police headquarters. They renovated the attic into a 1500-square-foot residence for themselves. The space took six months to renovate so that it was “livable,” but the couple has continued to work on it over the years.

According to Lee, both the biggest asset and challenge of decorating their home was marrying her and her husband’s tastes. “We have different aesthetics. Design-wise he’s a little cleaner, slicker…I’m always interested in bringing in more texture, color, curvilinear shapes.”

The key, says Lee, was in the curation. She and Chandler carefully chose what to display and what to pack away in their large storage closet. “He edits me,” Lee says of Chandler, “I choose to display things that I’m really passionate about, and then he goes in and arranges them–almost like a set.”

The end result: “When people come there, they often say: ‘Wow it looks so clean and sleek, but when you start to look around there’s a lot of detail–a lot of warmth.’”

Left: Lee’s building used to be a gun factory, part of New York’s fabled gun district. Right Top: Lee in the Yoma office, wearing a coat by Juli Raja. Right Bottom: Each of Lee’s textile designs begins with her own hand-drawings.

The main living area is a mix of sleek, architectural pieces and quirky ethnic finds, like the tiny wooden chair from Guatemala and a collection of hand-woven purses from the Philippines. Couch: Ligne Roset, purchased on Craigslist. Coffee table: Broome, Chandler’s furniture design company. Rug: Warp and Weft.

A modern table is offset by rich, textural details, including a New Mexico-inspired painting by artist Lou Hicks and hand-painted Italian plates from Ceramica Direct.

At first glance, these “Afghan War Rugs” appear to be typical antique oriental designs, however if you look closely, you can see machine guns, missiles and war planes woven into the fabric. “It’s an amazing example of people incorporating what’s going on in their lives into their art,” says Lee, who inherited two of the rugs and bought a third from Warrug.com.

A tranquil bed from De La Espada seats beneath an original aquatint by artist Katja Oxman, who uses layers of fabric patterns in her work–much like Lee’s own designs.

Lee and Chandler began collecting handmade brooms ten years ago. “They’re mostly street brooms,” explains Lee, “handwoven by people in China and India who use them in the morning to clean. I’m interested in things that carry the spirit of the person who made them.” Red chair: Ochre.

Personal artifacts are carefully arranged in themed groups. Art (with crosses): Lou Hicks. Skull: Matter. Buddha: Vietnam.

Lee’s tranquil terrace overlooks the former New York City police headquarters.

—————————————————————————————————

photographer: Katherine Miles Jones
gun shop & terrace photos courtesy of: ChandlerPierce.com

{My Story} “I’m recording my first solo album…at 53.”

As a teen, FOF Sheri Nadelman wished she could become a rock star. Most people would say, “dream on.” She did, and, in her 50s, turned that dream into a rockin’ reality.

[Editor’s note: The essay below, by FOF Sheri Nadelman, is part of a series of personal blogs from our readers. Have your own story to tell? Email your idea to geri@faboverfifty.com.]

Before the days of American Idol and YouTube, there was little hope that I, a chubby-but-nice-Jewish-girl-from-Brooklyn, would make it as a singer. My dad wanted me to go to college, and my mom wanted me to marry a doctor. My dream was to become a rock star.

When I was 12, my dad got me a guitar, which I learned to play by ear. I sang for anyone who would listen. For the longest time I thought my middle name was “shut up.” No one ever took me seriously, but the truth is that I had a good voice.

At age 19, I mustered up the courage to sing for renowned vocal coach Marty Lawrence, a close family friend. “You’ve definitely got something,” he said–in true Simon Cowell fashion. I started lessons, which eventually lead to a recording contract. The financing fell through, and the album never came to fruition. I was devastated.

I was faced with the choice of pursuing my music career or marrying my boyfriend. I could not do both because his med school training would require us to move frequently–not an ideal situation for a musician trying to make it big.

We married and moved to Hawaii and started a family. When I was three months pregnant, my mom died of a stroke–she was only 46. My daughter was born six months later.

Years later, we settled in Florida and tragedy struck once again, I lost both my dad and my brother. My dad lost a bitter battle to emphysema. My brother died at the age of 40 after complications from gastric bypass surgery. Adding to my grief was the demise of my marriage. It was such an emotional roller coaster, I couldn’t bring myself to pick up the guitar for years.

At 45, I got divorced–I felt unhappy and unfulfilled. My daughter was getting ready to leave for college, and I worried I’d miss her terribly. A girlfriend and my daughter encouraged me to do an open mic night. I got involved in the local music scene and began performing solo at first and then with other musicians in an acoustic band. I never thought I’d marry again, but later that same year, I was swept away by a businessman with an extensive background in music.  He believed in me like no one had before.

At 53 years old, when most women my age are winding down, I am just beginning! I am in the midst of recording my long overdue solo album. I sing lead and play guitar in a popular Tampa Bay area cover band called soulRcoaster. Not only do I get to live my dream–singing everything from Etta James to Lady GaGa–I get to share it with my husband, who is now our soundman! “You can hear Sheri’s passion captured in every single note she sings,” Bud Snyder, a sound engineer for the Allman Brothers, once told me.  I guess I’m just a late bloomer.
.

.

For the record (pun intended) I just wrapped up my album “Fate Steps In,” which will be be available on iTunes soon. You can visit her website for more information.

{Giveaway} An FOFoolproof scarf from Liscaro

Lisa Devereaux of Liscaro is giving away one of her FOFuss-free scarves. Enter to win by answering in the comments below: What is your favorite way to wear a scarf?

In 1987, when FOF Lisa Devereaux was a young commercial production assistant, she came across an idea that stuck with her. “A company had produced a square scarf with a slit on the end of it, so you could pull it through and not have to fuss with tying it,” said Lisa.

Years later, remembering what she had seen, Lisa sewed something similar for her grandmother, who had arthritis. “She’d always wore scarves, but was having a hard time [tying them]. I made it less square so it had a softer look and added elastic to the hole.”

Lisa showed her prototype to a few store owners in the Dallas area who put in orders right away. She brought it before QVC reps who ordered 5,000 on the spot. Shortly after, in 2010, Lisa put her interior design business on hold, hired a seamstress to help her, and began working full time on Liscaro, the new name for her scarf business. “I had a waiting list of clients for interior decorating, but I farmed them out to other decorators and make this my sole focus.”

“All you do is thread it through,” is the catchphrase for Lisa’s FOFuss-free scarves, which have an elasticized “eye” at the end for easy tying. (Watch this great video tutorial, where Lisa demonstrates all the ways to wear them.) The scarves come in silk and silk-blend, but primarily polyester, which Lisa says is wrinkle-free, good for traveling and washes well.

Lisa is already hard at work on her next product: the Riviera Wrap. “It has the same elasticized eye, and you can wear it as a cape, pareo, sarong, shawl, dress and a shirt,” she says. “Everything I create has more than one use. Lisa tells us something she hears over and over when people see her scarves is…’why didn’t I think of this?’…begging the question…why didn’t we think of this?

Enter to win an FOFuss-free scarf from Lisa Devereaux of Liscaro by answering in the comments below: What is your favorite way to wear a scarf?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes January 26, 2012 at midnight E.S.T.

Can’t wait to find out if you won? FOFs receive 30% off all orders of Liscaro scarves when you enter “FOF” at checkout.

{My Story} Resolutions of a newly-minted (FOF) bartender

[Editor’s note: The essay below, by FOF Cheryl Rich Heisler, is part of a series of personal blogs from our readers. Have your own story to tell? Email your “What I Know Now” idea to geri@faboverfifty.com.]

.

By profession, I am the president and founder of a career consulting business for attorneys frustrated by their traditional career options. By formal education, I am one of those self-same attorneys.  But, by avocation, I am what I perhaps should have always been—a mixologist.

.

As a career consultant, I get a great deal of satisfaction helping people uncover their passions. But this past year, I decided I hadn’t realized one of my own lifelong passions–becoming an expert at making cocktails. I have poignant memories of heart-to-heart talks with my Dad over the tops of chilled martini glasses, and I get a wicked kick out of mixing and matching libations of all flavors and colors to create something new, different and kind-of clever.

However, giving up my day job to pursue this passion wasn’t a sacrifice I was willing to make. As an FOF, I realized you can have your cocktail and drink it too. While I continued my career consulting business–meeting clients in the mornings and in the afternoons–I studied for my mixology license. I love the reaction I get when I tell people I passed a second “Bar” exam. It was one of my major highlights of 2011.

But now it is 2012: how will each of us expand our horizons over the year ahead?

The lawyer in me suggests prudence:  plan better, save more.

The career coach in me says add more play, uncover a new passion, take those horseback riding lessons I’ve been thinking about.

And the bartender in me? She says lighten up, life is short.  Have a drink.  Toast to health and happiness and all the unpredictable, wonderful surprises that a New Year can bring.

Start the New Year off right with this refreshingly sweet n’ spicy cocktail shot:

{My Story} Only when this FOF retired, did she find her dream job.

[Editor’s note: The essay below, by FOF Linda Lindsay, is part of a series of personal blogs from our readers. Have your own story to tell? Email your idea to geri@faboverfifty.com.]

I’ve been called the ‘accidental vintner.’

Never in a million years did I think I’d end up in the wine industry, a predominantly male business. Instead, I spent most of my life as a realtor, selling houses in and around Southwest Portland.

On the weekends in the 80s, my husband and a group of our friends would visit another friend’s gorgeous property in McMinnville, Oregon, about 35 miles southwest of Portland. It was beautiful, pristine and private–one of those special places you visit to escape the hustle and bustle of your daily life.

The Oregon wine industry was in it’s infancy, and we thought, ‘hey, maybe we could grow grapes here.’ So, each weekend we started planting vines and before we knew it, we had created a vineyard.

In the early 90s, my husband and I began our search for a retirement home with more property. We looked high and low, and even as a realtor, I couldn’t find anything just right. Then, in 1996 our friend told us he was looking to sell his McMinnville property, thinking we might buy it. We did. We built our home there and along the way, bought another vineyard. We named them Stone Wolf Vineyards, a compromise between our two favorite name ideas, Stone Bridge and Little Wolf.

Since we purchased the property, I’ve spent my days running the vineyard and producing, marketing and selling wine. Living among the vines is romantic, but it’s a lot of hard work too. Your partner is Mother Nature who can be unpredictable. Plus, the competition is fierce. But, we’ve been lucky–we sell every drop we make. Despite the recession, we’ve grown our business to include three labels–Rascal, Stone Wolf, and Lindsay Cellar and are the first winemaker in the U.S. to offer wine in a fully-recyclable keg. Our wine has won many prestigious awards.

The wine industry is still male dominated, but there’s increasingly more and more women at the helm. I’m not treated any different because I’m a woman. I’m one of them. A few years ago, I released a ‘matriarch series,’ of wine, a tribute to mothers and grandmothers. That label rocked.

I still have my real estate license and do a couple deals a year–mostly dealing with vineyard acquisitions. I can’t give it up.

It’s funny, years ago I was a realtor searching high and low for a great retirement home. Now, I own the best real estate on the planet, and maybe I’m not “retired” in the traditional sense, but I love what I do. I’m getting ready to go into my 16th vintage and this year, we’ll produce about 35,000 cases of wine. I’m Queen of the Vineyard.

{Careers} No experience? No degree? No problem!

These 5 FOFs started profitable second-act careers without going back to school or working their way up the ladder. Our FOF career gurus say you can, too…

B&B Proprietor

“My client Melanie, 54, was an executive with a major airline for over 20 years, but she always had a passion for cooking–especially breakfast pastries,” says FOF Career Guru Jane Angelich. “Her dream was to open a small B&B where she could live, earn an income, and enjoy baking for her guests.”

How she made it work: “Before Melanie made the leap, she spent a few days shadowing a B&B owner using this site: www.vocationvacations.com. Then, confident she’d enjoy B&B ownership, she sold her home (she was in the middle of a divorce), and rented while looking for an existing B&B for sale. By purchasing a property that was already active, she could build upon the prior owner’s customer base. She also didn’t have to worry about getting the zoning permits from scratch because that work was already done. Melanie is now making a comfortable living and having a blast creating new and exciting recipes for her guests.”

How you can, too: First, find a B&B you like and ask to shadow the proprietor for a few days. Even consider offering to work there a few weekends doing odd jobs. Then, salivate over all the fab inns for sale at www.bnb4sale.com. You’re on your way….

—————————————————————————————————–

“Workshopper” in a Retirement Community

“Anna, another client, was a bank executive who spent several years visiting her elderly aunt in a retirement community. She also hobbied as an actress in community theater. She loved listening to her aunt’s stories and decided she wanted to create a documentary to capture them. She created a series of workshops, using the documentary as a tool to help residents tell their stories. Since then she’s booked her workshops across the country and is paid as a workshop leader.”

How she made it work: “Anna landed her first ‘gig’ by trying out her material for free at her aunt’s retirement community to refine her delivery and material. She asked for testimonials and used them to build her marketing material. She attended a trade show geared for retirement community/assisted living providers and networked like crazy so she could follow-up after the show.”

How you can, too: What knowledge would you love to share? Consider your passions–history, gardening, art, shopping(!)–and offer to teach a seminar or run a workshop at your local assisted-living facility. Search for one in your community, here: http://www.alfa.org/

FOF Career Guru Jane Angelich is a serial entrepreneur. She’s been a business coach for over 30 years, helping women find their career zen. Today she is the CEO of Bright IP Concepts, manufacturer of the supercollar® and the author of two books about in laws, http://www.inlawexpert.com.
—————————————————————————————————–

Professional Downsizer

“My client Susan was a stay at home mom for many years before her kids left for school and her marriage fell apart,” says FOF Guru Kathi Elster. “She found her calling when she artfully downsized from a 4,000-square-foot home to a 1,000-square-foot apartment, sanity intact. Today, Susan helps families downsize when their kids move out, when someone moves to a retirement home or when divorce comes late in life.”

How she made it work: “Susan got her first client by visiting the newest Adult Living Facility in her community, describing her services, and offering a finder’s fee for any clients they recommended. She did the same with several local moving companies and quickly got clients. Then she started getting referrals.”

How you can, too: If you’re willing to pay a few hundred dollars, you can take organizing courses and get certified by NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers (classes average $40 for members and $140 for non-members). Alternately, offer to help a friend downsize for free, and learn while you do.

FOF Guru Kathi Elster, founder of k2 Enterprises, is an executive coach and nationally recognized business strategist.
—————————————————————————————————–

Home “Redecorator”

“An over-50 attorney I know loved home decorating and had a natural eye for it,” says Lauri Ward, president and founder of Use What You Have Interiors. “She watched HGTV and read decorating magazines religiously. Her friends always oohed and ahhed when they came to her home and begged her to help them with theirs. She knew this is what she wanted to do as her second-act career.”

How she did it: “She took a week off from her practice and completed my Redecorator Training in New York City. By the end of the week she had learned everything she needed to help clients re-do their rooms using what they already had on hand. This allowed her to jump right in, without having to create relationships with suppliers and designer showrooms. In addition to the practical redecorating skills, she learned best-business practices, pricing, marketing and even got some hands-on experience shadowing a re-decorator on the job. Plus, she was able to start off slow. She accepted clients on nights and weekends and only closed down her practice when she felt financially comfortable.”

How you can, too: Lauri Ward’s New York City Redesign training programs are offered 3-4 times per year. The $3,500 cost includes your tuition and lunch for the week. If you can’t make it to New York, Lauri offers an online training program (which provides the same certification as the live class) that you can complete at your own pace (typically 2-4 weeks) for $2,000. Once you get your business off the ground you can expect to earn a minimum of $250 per room (each room typically takes a couple of hours to complete).

Lauri Ward, president and founder of Use What You Have Interiors, an interior design business that helps people use what they already have in their home as the foundation to create a fresher, updated, more elegant look, without spending a lot of money.
—————————————————————————————————–

Dessert Caterer

“Andrea, a music industry exec was burnt out from her high-stress job and baking was the only thing that relaxed her,” says FOF career image specialist Lisa Johnson Mandell. “She recently started a dessert catering business. She makes treats for showers, teas, engagement parties and sets up dessert tables for kids parties. She plans to quit her day job when she can make enough from the business to keep up with her payments.”

How she made it work: “Andrea rents out a local kitchen for just $15 per hour and bakes on the weekends and by moonlight.  So far, it’s been a  minimum financial investment but it takes a toll on her, it’s physically draining and an enormous sacrifice of time. But, she thinks eventually she’ll be able to profit doing what she loves. She hopes to have her cake and eat it too.”

How you can, too: Many bakeries offer reasonable “cupcake camps” or workshops in cake decorating and baking. See if your local sweet shop has a class schedule. If not, ask if you can “stodge” (work in exchange for experience) at your local patisserie or shadow a pastry chef in your area. If your baking style is more homestyle than haute, market yourself that way! ‘Mrs. Fields’ never attended LeCourdon Bleu, and you needn’t either. When you’ve built up enough cooking confidence, check out this directory of commercial kitchens for rent and get baking!

FOF Lisa Johnson Mandell is a Career Image Specialist, an award-winning multimedia journalist, host and author of Career Comeback—Repackage yourself to get the job you want.

{Giveaway} The next generation of “business cards!”

FOF is giving away three brilliant alternatives to old-school business cards. To enter, answer this question in the comments below: Do you prefer networking in person or online?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

Has the desktop Rolodex gone the way of the dodo? And if it has, where are we supposed to keep all those business cards?! Business card swapping, once an in-person business ritual, has migrated to the web. Discover a whole new generation of contact management, below:

Virtual business cards: About.Me connects your physical business cards to your online networking profiles. When you create an About.Me online profile, you receive business cards (printed by Moo.com) with a special barcode. When potential customers or business associates scan the code with their smartphones, they’re taken to your About.me profile page which includes links to your website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. You can track who visited your “virtual business card” and where they are coming from.
*Win: A pack of 50 About.me business cards printed by Moo.com (a $21.99 value)

—————————————————————————————————–

The ultimate contact management app: Connected helps you reference all your contacts in one place. It builds a single online contact book using your e-mail, LinkedIn, Facebook and other online networks. Among other fab features, it sends you reminders when one of your contacts has a birthday or changes jobs.
*Win: A 3-month subscription to Connected (normally $9.99 per month)

—————————————————————————————————–

Business card scanner app: Take a photo of a physical business card with your  iPhone or Droid, and the ScanBizCards app will recognize and store all the contact information in your phone. It also creates a virtual library of business cards and contact information that you can access from your desktop.
*Win: Unlimited version of the ScanBizCards app (normally $5.99)

—————————————————————————————————–

*Enter to win one of these 3 fab networking tools: a stack of business cards from About.Me and Moo.com, a Connected contact management app or the ScanBizCards app. 3 FOFs will win. Answer this question in the comments below: Do you prefer to network in person or online?

(See all our past winners. See official rules. Three winners are chosen at random from all those commenters who answer the question. Contest closes June 9, 2011.)

{Survey} What are FOFs up to 9 to 5?

Boardroom or boredom? Job-hopper or loyal as a dog? Retiring or reinventing? Answer this anonymous career survey, then find out about the work lives of other FOFs.

Which best describes your current employment status?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

If you are working, how much do you typically make in year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Do you financially support your husband or partner?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

If you’re working, what best describes your employer?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Which best describes your job transitioning behavior?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

At what age were you most satisfied with your career?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

What best describes your attitude towards retirement?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Which (if any) posed the biggest challenge to your career ambitions?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

If you had kids, how did motherhood affect your career?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

If you have grown children, do you have to work to support them?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Were you forced to go back to work by any of the following reasons?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

How has the current economic downturn affected your career?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Do you have any regrets about the career path you’ve chosen?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

If you could go back, would you spend more or less time worrying about your career?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...