{Giveaway} A year of fabulous, fresh flowers!



You’re tired of dropping a small fortune on “fresh” flowers, only to have them droop and die a few days later. How’d you like to spend absolutely nothing on a year’s worth of beautiful blooms and have each breathtaking bouquet last for up to two weeks?

One lucky FOF will receive a fresh bouquet of her favorite flower–once a month for an entire  year–from The Bouqs Co., which is changing the way we buy and enjoy flowers. Offering a gorgeous selection of 40 bouquets, curated by a renowned floral designer, The Bouqs Co. ships its blooms directly to your home from eco-friendly, sustainable farms in South America, where they’re grown.

To win, visit www.thebouqs.com, pick out your favorite bouquet, then comment below with your choice: 1 FOF will win!

Special occasion coming up? Order from The Bouqs Co. today and get 10 percent off and free shipping, exclusive for FOFs.  Enter code FABOVERFIFTY at checkout.

1 FOF will win 12 bouquets of flowers (a 1 year-subscription). (See official rules, here.) Contest closes July 29, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Giveaway} A $300 ravishing red necklace from Bess Heitner

bessheitnerFOF Bess Heitner wears many hats, but we wanted to showcase her jewelry business, Bess Heitner Jewelry Designs, which features stones and gems from around the world in colorful and distinctive pieces. Ranging from $58 earrings to necklaces for more than $2,000, Bess keeps FOFs in mind when designing her collection. Today, she’s giving away a ravishing red necklace, “Multi-Coral Torsade” (retail value: $300), which is made of coral “in every shade,” freshwater pearls, and lacquered bone toggle. To win this beautiful necklace, first visit Bess’ website, then comment below with the name of your favorite piece and why. 1 FOF will win!

How old are you?

How did you launch your business?
Even as a kid I tinkered with design. My mother was a millinery buyer at Bloomingdale’s in the days when no fashionable woman would be seen outside without a hat. Our home was filled with brightly colored ribbons, flowers, pins, felt shapes and all the fixings for elaborate bonnets. I discovered I had a flair for combining forms, textures, and colors. Before long I was helping my mother concoct her elaborate creations. After my husband died in June 2000, I began taking jewelry courses to help me figure out what to do next. I have never enjoyed anything as much as this. In my “second act,” I found my true passion that I love more than anything I’ve ever done.

What were you doing before?
I taught English in Japan and at the New School for Social Research in New York. I was a professional writer and worked with my husband, a Japanese TV producer, on documentaries. I also created costumes for several feature films.

Where are you based?
My studio is in Manhattan where I make each one-of-a-kind and limited edition piece by hand.

What is your typical workday like?
Designing and jewelry making take up a large part of each day. I also write blog posts and do other business and PR tasks. Some days I have private appointments with clients. And I always spend an hour or two studying fashion magazines and favorite websites for inspiration.

opulentpearls-citrineWhat jewelry do you sell?
I sell necklaces, earrings, pins, and bracelets in a wide variety of styles.

Where do the stones and gems come from?
I get my materials from a few trusted vendors. Most of my top quality gems and minerals, such as Peruvian Opal, Brazilian amethyst and tourmaline, rubies and other interesting stones come from Brazil, Australia, Africa and India. The pearls come from China and Australia.

What trends have you noticed with jewelry this year?
I like the bold statement pieces that are in now because I favor drama, bold shapes, and vivid color in my own work. Chains and ropes also are popular and have
South Sea Pearl Brazilian Citrine Collar

always been favorites of mine. Long before the Gatsby and Boho trends hit, I began offering many kinds of ropes with clasps that are versatile and can be doubled, tripled, worn as lariats, or wrapped around the wrist many times.

What are your best-selling items?
The multi-coral torsade I am offering is very popular because it looks great with bright white, picks up the colors in strong prints, and perks up almost every shade. Genuine coral is becoming extinct so people are glad to get this. A raw iridescent quartz collar I designed in several colors has been selling well because it makes a dramatic statement.

Why does your collection looks good on FOFs?
Women over fifty know who they are and aren’t afraid to make unique statements at work and in their personal lives. I design wearable artwork, pieces that are both contemporary and timeless, that echo the qualities of the women who wear them. I use stones, pearls, and tiny crystals that flatter the skin. And my pieces are versatile; easy to wear in a work setting, in casual surroundings or on a dressy occasion.

To win this necklace, first visit Bess’ website; then comment below with the name of your favorite piece and why. 1 FOF will win!

P.S. Want to get your hands on one of Bess’ designs now? All of her products are 25% off until July 24.

1 FOF will win. (See official rules, here.) Contest closes July 24, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Big Monthly Giveaway} Women at Woodstock Getaway

Rest, relax, and restore!

FOF is excited to attend another sensational getaway with Women at Woodstock East! Join FOFs from across the country this October for a transformative fall retreat in tranquil Woodstock, NY. Enjoy empowering workshops, performances, and great networking at the luxurious Emerson Resort & Spa. Your retreat also includes three nights at the resort, as well as gourmet meals and a luxe gift bag. You’ll leave inspired, relaxed, and rejuvenated. ONE FOF WILL WIN!

The reinvention retreat includes*:

• 3-nights private accommodations at the Emerson Resort & Spa

• Full admission to the Women at Woodstock retreat, including a ticket to the opening night performance of Alice and Elizabeth’s One Woman Show, a welcome party, intimate workshops and speaker presentations.

Dates: October 6-9, 2013

To enter to win, comment below to this question:  Why would you like to attend the WAW retreat?

1 FOF will win. (See official rules, here.) Contest closes August 20th, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

*Does not include transportation.

{Giveaway} Two words: shopping spree


FOF Barbara Lesser is a West Coast clothing designer whose eponymous casual collection ranges from bright tunics to summery white pants. Enter to win a $300 shopping spree.  First check out Barbara’s line and then comment below on which of her summer pieces you like best and why.

FOF chatted with Barbara recently.

How old are you?

What was your first job?
I started as a sweater designer in NYC one month out of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After another month I traveled to Europe for inspiration and Asia to visit factories.

What were you doing before you started your business?
I worked for ESPRIT.

When and how did you launch your own company?
I meet a great guy in 1980 who always wanted to be his own boss and also worked in the apparel industry. First we got married, then we started our business, Felicity, in 1982.

What was the first item you designed?
I did screen-printed sweaters that were like Miro and Picasso paintings.

Where are you based?
We’re in Los Angeles and all of our manufacturing is done right here in Southern California. We’re very proud of that!!!

What is a typical workday like for you?
I’m lucky that I have a great staff who know exactly how to do their job well. I have plenty of time to do my research and think my seasons through while they take care of the details. I start at 9:30 and leave around 5:30. My husband and I always go out to lunch to take a break and discuss business or children. I research fabrics and color quite a lot. I shop a lot to see the retail trends and I sketch out my ideas into groups based on fabrications. We have production fittings a few times a week and meetings to keep everyone informed, organized and focused.

What products do you sell and at what prices?
My collection is casual sportswear for women like I. It’s on trend, easy to wear and care for, and fits the lifestyle of most women I know. The retail prices range from about $89 to $200. The items include tops, pants, jackets and dresses.

What are this summer’s hot items?
Many of my products are hand dyed by local artisans so the result is a hand painted or tie-dyed look. Tops with cut outs and cold shoulders are hot. So are sundresses. Tunics with hi-low hemlines are a very current trend. Our customers love our poplin pants in the hot weather. Bright colors prevail in all categories.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Success is always the best inspiration. I love building on a category that sold well. I find inspiration in everything from sunsets to ancient mosaics. I also love to watch what women are wearing to see what makes them feel comfortable and confident.

To enter, comment below answering the question: What’s your favorite summer item from the Barbara Lesser collection and WHY is it your favorite?

1 FOF will win. (See official rules, here.) Contest closes June 20th, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Giveaway} Edgy earrings by FOF Shaune Bazner


FOF Shaune Bazner designs fabulous jewelry and accessories for all types of women. Her company, Shaune Bazner Accessories, is giving away 5 sets of clip-on earrings (retail value: $30-$32/pair). Her colorful collection, which also includes hair sticks and necklaces, are all under $100– beautiful and affordable. To win, answer the question: Which set of earrings is your favorite?


How old are you?
62 years old.

What were you doing before you started your business?
I was a dancer and yoga instructor.

How and when did you get started with your business? I started my business out of a personal need to find a hair accessory that would not give me headaches or damage my hair. I founded the company in 1978 with one accessory, Mei Fa Hairstyx*. It’s still our flagship product.
*MEI FA translates to “beautiful hair” in Chinese. The hair sticks keep your hairstyle comfortably in place.

When did you start designing jewelry?
I started designing jewelry a few years after launching the company. I heard from many women that there were no clip-on earrings out there that were comfortable and fun looking. I jumped on this opportunity and we have one of the largest selection of handcrafted clip-ons available.

Where are you based out of?
All of our products are made in our studio in Washington, D.C.

What is a typical workday like for you?
Extremely varied! Which is part of the reason I’ve been at it for so long. I do trade and retail shows. We sell to about 600 stores across the country. I design two jewelry collections each year. I have a good sense of priorities and naturally gravitate toward what needs to be done.

What accessories do you sell?
Mei Fa Hairstyx, shawl pins, convertibles, necklaces, bracelets, ID beads, eyeglass cords and earrings (wire, post and clip-ons)

What are convertibles?
Convertibles are multi-purpose pieces of jewelry. Shaune Bazner has 60” of stretch cords with seed beads, faceted crystals, and pearls which can be worn as necklaces, bracelets, pony-tail holders and more!

Why would FOFs like your earrings?
First, they’re comfortable and not heavy. Next, we have such a large variety to choose from that a woman can match any outfit for work or something more artsy for play. Many women have gone back to clip-ons because of stretched out holes in their pierced ears. Our earrings take care of this problem. The most popular type of earrings are pearls. Ours are sophisticated and edgy.

To win, answer the question: Which set of earrings is your favorite?

5 FOFs will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes June 13th, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Giveaway} Fab Floral Jacket!


FOF Jana Kos, design director for the Randy Kemper label, is giving away this fab floral blazer (retail value: $286), made from 96% cotton and 4% spandex, pictured above. Enter to win by answering in the comments, below: What would you wear this with?

Tell us about your background.
I studied clothing and textiles at Ohio State University. I wanted bigger and better of everything so I moved to NYC and went to FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology). I’ve been designing for over 25 years for a variety of women’s sportswear companies. I’ve had my own companies as well. I joined Randy Kemper in October.

What happened to the companies that you owned?
I started one company that was around for 14 years called Juliana–we did direct sales. I sold it when the economy took its toll. I’m a lot closer to the consumer than most people in this industry because they deal strictly with the buyers. I have been dealing with the customer herself for the last 18 years.

How did you find Randy Kemper?
I’ve known the owners for many years, we actually manufactured together in the same factory. It gets to be a small industry if you’re in it for a few years and you do cross paths with a lot of different people.

How long has the company been around?
Since 1997.

Tell me a little about your role there.
I spend a lot of time with my vendors– the fabric people and the trim people, that’s really where I start the collection each season. In this company we manufacture most of our clothing overseas so I send e-mails and information to our China satellite office. I spent today updating our line charts for the sales reps. We just launched the fall collection and had a market to get feedback from our customers. I do just about everything. I’ve been in many different roles in this industry and I love the entire process.

What are you working on now?
The fall collection is complete so now I’m working on Spring of 2014. The fabric shows were just in Paris and in New York. One of my favorite mill owners is coming in from France next week so I’ll get to meet with him. He’ll show me his collections of fabrics and textiles. I also end up developing a lot of my own fabrics as well.

Where is Randy Kemper sold?
In speciality stores. We don’t really focus on mass market kind of distribution.

Will you sell online?
We don’t have any particular plans for web sales right now but probably in the future.

What do you think makes the Randy Kemper collection good for women over 50?
It has an ageless type of appeal. It’s younger in attitude but our fit is made for a more mature body. We use a fit model that is over 50. The fit model is what you use as your standard. So our clothing fits differently than many other vendors in the market and that’s really our appeal. I do younger detailing but make it in proportion. For instance, skirts are getting bigger again–but instead of making it 17 inches I’ll make it 20, so it still gives us a shorter look but doesn’t rely on a little 20-year-old body.

Tell us about some of the trends coming up for 2014.
Ponte which is a double-knit fabric and very comfortable. Color has made a resurgence. But our bestselling color is still black. We’ve got a few black garments but we do have wonderful colors and textures, too.

What are your best sellers?
We do very well with our sweaters and soft knit garments. We also do very well with our jackets.

You said you wear many different hats but what’s your favorite part of working at Randy Kemper?
Working with the vendors and the salespeople. I’m a people person so I really just like interacting with different individuals and getting to know the customer as much as possible. And doing new things every day. It’s always a new season so it’s always an opportunity to discover new things.

Enter to win a fab floral blazer (retail value: $286), by answering in the comments below: What would you wear this with?

One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes June 6th, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Giveaway} Win a gorgeous, FOF-designed bracelet


Jewelry designer and FOF, Marleny Gonzalez, is giving away one a signature crocheted chain bracelet (retail value: $85) from her company, Tierra Dulce Couture.

Enter to win by answering in the comments, below: Where do you buy your jewelry?

FOF Marleny Gonzalez, an avid jewelry designer is battling breast cancer. Encouraged by her friends and daughter, Claudia, Marleny started selling at art shows in South Florida two years ago. Her jewelry, all hand crocheted macramé pieces with natural stones, was such a hit that she’s since expanded the business to Etsy and soon will launch her own website.  Her bracelets and necklaces range from $50 to $200.  “She’s not yet in remission but, hopefully, will soon be,” says Claudia. “We are almost at the end of the treatment. Her jewelry business gives her inspiration and allows her to focus on something else besides the cancer.” FOF chatted with Claudia and Marleny (Claudia translated for her mom, since Marleny is a native Spanish speaker.)

How old is Marleny?
Claudia: 54.

Do you own the business together?
Claudia: Yes. She does all the jewelry design. I do the logistics for all the shows and business development.

When did you start the business?
Claudia: We started selling at art shows in South Florida, about two years ago. But, my mom started designing four years ago. They have so many different art markets and shows here so it makes it so easy for us.

What does Tierra Dulce Couture stand for?
Claudia: My mom came up with it–it means “sweet earth” and I added Couture so it sounded more fashionable.

How did you decide to start the company?
Claudia: We started showing the jewelry off to our friends and family and everybody liked it. I thought it really had a future. So my mom quit her job in makeup sales to do this full time..

What are Marleny’s signature pieces?
Claudia: Crochet style in macrame with natural stones.

Where does she source the materials from?
Claudia: From her trips to Cali, Colombia and also from Miami.

Where do you sell your jewelry?
Claudia: Besides the art shows in South Florida, we sell in a store in Colombia and online at Etsy.com. We also are working on a website.

Enter to win by answering in the comments, below: Where do you buy your jewelry?

One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes May 16th, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Giveaway} Gift bundle from FOF Debbie Meyer


FOF entrepreneur, Debbie Meyer, is giving away several of her world-renowned kitchen products, from the Debbie Meyer™ line. Once you live with any of her innovative solutions to everyday problems, you’ll never want to live without them again! Enter to win by leaving an answer to this question: WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST COMPLAINT IN THE KITCHEN?

If you haven’t seen her on HSN, chances are you’ve seen her insanely-popular Debbie Meyer™ CakeCutters™, GreenBoxes™, or GreenBags® online or in stores. FOF entrepreneur, Debbie Meyer, used her innate knack of solving everyday problems in the kitchen to create a thriving business.


{Giveaway} A $625 tweed jacket

SmallGiveaway Avery Jacket

FOF clothing designer, Marisa Minicucci, is giving away this chic tweed “Avery” jacket from her new line, Minicucci and Marcanio (retail value: $625) in the subtle color-way, pictured above. Enter to win by leaving an answer below to this question: WHAT WOULD YOU WEAR WITH THE AVERY JACKET?

FOF Marisa Minicucci, from Canada, remembers the first piece of apparel she sewed. “I wanted to wear a jean skirt and vest I saw, and my mother, a seamstress, wouldn’t make it for me,” Marisa says. “So, while she was out, I started cutting and sewing. My pattern was out of newspaper and I used my sister as a guide. It had the yellow top stitch and everything. When my mother came home, she couldn’t believe it.”


{My Story} True satisfaction is priceless…

FOF Judy Resnick was 40 years old, “close to broke and with no way of making a living.” In her 50s, she’s turned her life around and became a financial advisor, helping other women, including her own daughter manage their lives and money. Read her inspiring story.

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

A recent photo of Judy and her grandchildren.