{Giveaway} Pocket-sized family tree

FOF genealogy guru, Rhonda Earley, is giving away 3 of her Pocket Trees. To enter, answer this question in the comments below: Where are your ancestors from?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

When FOF Rhonda Earley turned 50 she realized she didn’t have long to learn about her family. “I thought I better do research now while I still have my parents here to answer questions.”

Each day that year, after she dropped her son off at elementary school, she would head to the library to begin work on her family tree.

She was fascinated with her findings. “I found one of the letters my ancestor wrote home to Germany. I also learned that there had been a great deal of land in my family at one point, but, surprisingly, my father grew up poor,” says Rhonda. “That’s something I’m still piecing together.”

Rhonda would carry her computer around the library as well as poster-sized sheets of paper. “It wasn’t convenient,” says Rhonda. “I was running upstairs and downstairs between files, microfilm and maps. You need to be mobile.”

Sitting on the floor of the library next to a file cabinet, she had her A-ha! moment. “There’s got to be a way to transport all my research easily,” thought Rhonda.

The result was Rhoda’s Pocket Tree, which folds up to the size of an index card and opens up to a family tree that can go back nine generations.

“Besides being a great research tool, it’s a great keepsake to pass down to younger generations,” says Rhonda. “Imagine how cool would it be to see your great, great grandfather’s handwriting on a Pocket Tree.”

Enter to win a Pocket Tree. 3 FOFs will win. Answer this question in the comments below: Where are your ancestors from?

(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 2, 2011.)

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{Giveaway} Luxe Leather Handbag from Barr + Barr

FOF fashion designer, Helen Barr, is giving away a luxe, calfskin hobo. To enter, answer this question in the comments below: Do you match your bags to your shoes?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.


FOF Helen Barr had “former lives” as an artist, fashion exec and magazine editor. Then, in the late 90s, she decided she wanted to get into the booming business of bags. “I took a deep breath, rented an office, and began designing and manufacturing private label bags for Spiegel and Bloomingdales until I had a bit of money in the business,” says Helen. After three years designing private label, Helen launched Barr + Barr in 2000. Her bags were an instant hit, with her first designs selling to Neiman Marcus and Saks. “I grew it bag by bag,” she says.

Now, just a decade since it launched, Barr + Barr has received accolades from InStyle, Town & Country and Harper’s Bazaar editors and has been picked up by the Home Shopping Network (where the bags have been known to sell out in minutes). They’ve been toted around Tinseltown by Kim Cattrall, Sharon Stone and Debra Messing, and have made appearances on prime time shows including Sex and the City and Will and Grace. One of Helen’s bags was even worn by first lady, Laura Bush. “I keep the letter from her hanging on my showroom wall,” says Helen.

More details about the bag you could win:

  • Value – $289
  • Genuine calfskin leather
  • Inside zip, cell phone and multifunction pockets
  • Top zipper closure
  • Two outside pockets
  • Handle with 8 3/4″ drop
  • Removable, adjustable crossbody strap
  • Signature removable key fob
  • Dust bag
  • Signature love letter lining
  • 12 1/2″ (L) x 13″ (H) x 6 1/4″ (W)

Enter to win a luxe leather bag designed by FOF Helen Barr. Comment below and answer: Do you match your bags to your shoes?

Plus! FOF Exclusive Discount: Receive 15% off any bag from Barr & Barr when you “like” them on Facebook. (Mention on their wall that you came from FabOverFifty and they’ll send you a discount code valid until June 2, 2011.)

(See all our past winners. See official rules. One winners is chosen at random from all those commenters who answer the question. Contest closes May 26, 2011.)

{Travel} 5 Life-Changing Trips… You can take for FREE

FOF Sheryl Kayne was living in Weston, Connecticut, working as a teacher and education writer and raising her children. But deep down, she harbored secret dreams: to drive to Alaska, to become a park ranger, to immerse herself in the culture of a new city, to work with horses…to have adventures.

In 1992, she got divorced, and by 2001 her kids had left home. Sheryl realized, “This is my chance to step out of my life and make great adventures happen.” She wanted to travel but had no desire to take a packaged trip to Cancun and lie on the beach. “I wanted to immerse myself in a location–get to know the people and the culture. I wanted to challenge myself, contribute, grow and learn.” The result is her award-winning guide, Immersion Travel: The Best and Most Meaningful Volunteering, Living, and Learning Excursions. The book chronicles her own “immersion trips”–as a breakfast cook at a lodge in Stehekin, Washington, and as a tour guide in Denali National Park, Alaska–as well as the life-changing trips other men and women have taken to accomplish long-held dreams.

A word of warning: These trips are not pleasure cruises–literally. They can be mentally and physically challenging, but according to Sheryl, that’s all part of the journey. The best part: many “immersion” trips are completely free.

Here, Sheryl shares five fabulous and free(!) opportunities for life-changing travel.

1. Learn Fly Fishing With Friends

Imagine standing in a cool, clear mountain stream, learning to fish with a group of friendly, supportive FOFs. Casting For Recovery provides fly-fishing retreats for women who have or have had breast cancer. It also accepts 1500 volunteers each year to attend and assist the participants. These no-cost retreats are offered at bucolic locations across the country, from Vermont and Alabama to Montana and Colorado. “One of my clients, Sema, attended as a participant and later returned as a volunteer. She credits the trip with giving her a ‘week-long ‘a-ha’ moment, and inspiring her to create her own business helping breast cancer survivors,” says Sheryl.

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2. Create Art in a Breathtaking American Setting

Spend the summer ensconced in a cozy cabin, sketching, writing or painting as you gaze upon some of the most breathtaking views America has to offer. The National Park Service’s Volunteers-in-Parks program accepts thousands of applicants a year to volunteer in exchange for housing and VIP park access. If you’re a professional or novice painter, poet, photographer, writer or crafter, consider the artist-in-residence programs. Artists are invited to live and work in the park in exchange for offering a workshop to park visitors or donating a piece of art.

“I volunteered as the writer in residence in the Everglades National Park in 2007 and 2008,” says Sheryl. “It’s exciting to visit a national park, but it’s a lifetime experience to live inside one for an extended period of time.”

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3. Work with Primates in Saugus, CA

Indulge your Jane Goodall fantasies when you volunteer to work at the Gibbon Conservation Center in scenic Saugus, CA. Resident volunteers are required to commit to one month of services–accommodations are humble, but included. You’ll work with the researchers to feed, water and care for the gibbons. Says FOF Fiona of her stay: “For anyone with a love of animals wanting to get ‘up close and personal’ with primates, GCC is a wonderful opportunity. I volunteered at the center for four weeks and thoroughly enjoyed becoming part of the gibbons’ day-to-day life. I learned new skills, made good friends, and took away experiences that very few people can match.”

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4. Advocate for Wildlife on Hawk Mountain

Experience a wonderful immersion excursion and a sight rarely equaled elsewhere–18,000 hawks, vultures, falcons, and eagles fly directly by Hawk Mountain between August and December.

Hawk Mountain is part of the Blue Mountain Ridge, which has been named a critical corridor by the Pennsylvania Game Commission–State Wildlife Management Agency.  Volunteers and interns are needed throughout the summer to help track and protect the hawks. If you’ve got a green thumb, they’re also looking for people who can help give tours of their Native Plant Garden and run their Native Plant Sale.

Long and short-term volunteer opportunities are available in research, monitoring, and environmental education, along with internships.

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5. Become a Lighthouse Keeper in the Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

If you’ve ever seen Nights in Rodanthe, you’re familiar with the inn-keeper fantasy. A lonely FOF is taking care of her friend’s seaside inn and welcomes a weary traveler…who just happens to Richard Gere. Well, we can’t guarantee Gere, but we can guarantee that you can enjoy gratis accommodations when you volunteer as a lighthouse keeper in the awe-inspiring Apostle Islands of Wisconsin. Spend several weeks to an entire summer at one of five island locations, greeting tourists, performing light trail work, and maintaining the historic residences.

{Giveaway} The perfect shade of red nail polish by Deborah Lippmann

Manicurist to the stars, FOF Deborah Lippmann, is giving away five bottles of “My Old Flame,” a universally flattering shade of red. Enter to win by commenting below: Do you get professional manicures or do it yourself?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

FOF Deborah Lippmann has cut and colored the claws of Cher, Martha Stewart and an impressive roster of other A-list celebs.

After dreams of becoming a jazz diva didn’t materialize, Deborah enrolled in cosmetology school where she discovered her true talent — nails.

Then, she nailed it in Phoenix, where the city’s socialites lined up at her manicure chair. But, it wasn’t enough, Deborah had stars in her eyes.

She tried her hand in New York City where by a stroke of luck, an Allure editor ended up in her chair. “One of the best manicurists in the country” wrote the editor after her life-changing mani. Editors at Vogue later dubbed Deborah a “mega-manicurist.”

From there, Deborah’s career took off. She gained a reputation not only for her magical manicures but for mixing custom colors so celebs such as Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Renee Zellweger and Penelope Cruz could have unique nail shades when accepting their Oscars.

Deborah continues to do manicures for top clients, but she also spends her days crafting colors for her award-winning line of lacquer.

Enter to win one of five bottles of “My Old Flame,” FOF Deborah Lippmann’s perfect shade of red nail polish by commenting below and answering: Do you get professional manicures or do it yourself?

(See all our past winners. See official rules. Five winners are chosen at random from all those commenters who answer the question. Contest closes April 7, 2011.)

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{Giveaway} A set of friendship earrings (a pair for you and a friend!)

FOF is giving away one set of these gorgeous friendship earrings (a pair for you and a friend!) from Gorjana. Enter to win by commenting below and answering: Which earrings do you like best, the circles or the doves?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

When an FOF friend let us in on the collection of friendship earrings and jewelry from Gorjana, we were all ears. They’re reminiscent of the “Best Friends” baubles we used to swap with our childhood bestie, but much more grown-up. A physical reminder of an emotional connection with a friend is still so soothing after all of these years.

Each jewelry set comes cleverly packaged with a note card bearing a unique friendship quote.

We couldn’t decide which we loved more — the sophisticated interlocking circles or the friendship doves. Can you help us choose?

Enter to win by commenting below and answering: Which earrings do you like better, the circles or the doves?

(See all our past winners, here.)
(See official rules, here.)

Contest closes March 24, 2011

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{Giveaway} A signed copy of Denise Austin’s “Get Energy! Empower Your Body, Love Your Life” + 3 workout DVDs

FOF television and DVD fitness star Denise Austin is giving away a signed copy of her just-released book Get Energy! Empower Your Body, Love Your Life plus 3 of her workout DVDs.

To enter, comment below and answer: Have you ever worked out to a fitness video? Which one?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

“Denise Austin practices what she preaches,” said legendary fitness enthusiast Jack LaLanne, who gave Denise her a first big break on his show. And it’s true… Denise works out just 30 minutes each day (“I really try to make the 30 minutes very effective and efficient because I don’t have a lot of time.”) and eats healthily but indulges a little too (“I eat well 80% of the time and have my treats 20% of the time”). In her just-released book Get Energy! Empower Your Body, Love Your Life, 53-year-old Denise Austin shares the food and fitness plan that’s allowed her to maintain her booming body and her booming business for the past 30 years.

The book has a quiz to help readers identify their own energy-zappers, a list of energy-boosting foods and guidelines on when to eat them, mini-workout routines and more.

“I wrote ‘Get Energy!’ because I meet with women all the time who ask me, ‘Denise, how do you have so much energy?'” says Denise. I compiled the tips and stretches that I use throughout the day to stay energized and fit!

Denise’s workout bible has already received glowing reviews: “Denise Austin makes the Energizer Bunny look lethargic,” wrote People magazine editors. “Denise Austin probably could motivate a statue,” said a review in the Chicago Tribune.

[Read Denise’s entire interview with FOF here]

[Read Denise’s 5 ways to get your energy back here]

To enter to win a signed copy of Denise’s just-released book Get Energy! Empower Your Body, Love Your Life and 3 of her workout DVDs, comment below and answer: Have you ever worked out to a fitness video? Which one?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

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{Giveaway} A night of live music!

FOF Jan Daley is giving away two tickets to her tribute to Bob Hope concert, and a copy of her new CD, “Where There’s Hope.” The winner can choose from two shows: a concert at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency Hotel in N.Y.C. on the evening of Sunday, April 3, 2011 or at Vicky’s of Santa Fe in Indian Wells, Calif on the evening of March 21, 2011.

To enter, comment below and answer: Do you sing in the shower? (Please indicate in your comment whether you would like to attend the California or New York show.)

FOF Jan Daley traveled around the world entertaining troops on the Bob Hope U.S.O. Tour during the Vietnam War. Now, forty years later, she has put together a tribute to Bob Hope, an album of love songs from his legacy.

“It was an amazing research project because I had no idea how many beautiful songs came out of Bob Hope’s wacky movies. In the 30s and the 40s, all the great American composers, like Gershwin and Cole Porter and Jerome Kern, came out here to California to write music for his movies…just wonderful songs.”

Watch this vintage video clip of Jan singing to troops in Vietnam in the 1970s, then enter below to win tickets to her show plus her new C.D.

Read Jan’s entire interview here.

To enter, comment below and answer: Do you sing in the shower? (Please indicate in your comment whether you would like to attend the California or New York show.)

Contest closes November 18, 2010.

(See all our past winners, here.)

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

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{Giveaway} A chic Amy Butler travel trio from Kalencom

FOF Monica Kalozdi is giving away a trio of sweet travel pouches designed by Amy Butler for Kalencom .

To enter, comment below and answer: What “freebies” do you take/steal from hotels?


Monica’s New Orleans-based manufacturing company, Kalencom, manufactures a multitude of bags from colorful market totes to sleek diaper carriers.  Designer lines include Amy Butler for Kalencom, fashion and travel bags in whimsical floral prints, and Hadaki, which Monica describes as “happy gear,” lightweight totes and luggage in eye-popping colors.

Her advice to other FOF entrepreneurs? “We should never stop learning, growing and changing. Even though by years we are getting older, our minds need to stay young. Stay in tune with the younger generations. We need to understand the way they think, act, and what motivates them.”

To enter, comment below and answer:  What “freebies” do you take/steal from hotels?

(See all our past winners, here.)

Image via MomTrends

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

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{Giveaway} Win a custom painting!

FOF Linda McCoy is giving away a custom painting to celebrate the launch of her FOF Shop!

She’ll paint your pet, your home or a person you love–just in time for the holidays. To enter, visit Linda’s shop and then comment below with your answer to this question: What would you want Linda to paint?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.


Comment to enter: What would you want Linda to paint?

(See all our past winners, here.) Contest closes November 2, 2010.


{Giveaway} Knitting Project Kit: Reversible Cable Cowl

FOF Linda Morse is giving away a knitting kit from her store String NY. It includes a pattern and all the luscious, 100% Italian cashmere yarn you need to make this chic, reversible cable cowl. Don’t know how to knit? Linda will have one of her master-knitters hand stitch the cowl for you instead. A $128 value!

String NY is the “best knitting store in the world,” according to FabOverFifty.com founder, Geri. Located in New York City and online, String has a mind-blowing selection of luxe cashmere yarn and exclusive “String Originals,” patterns created by in-house designer Lidia Karabinech (who formerly headed up the black label designs of Donna Karan and Ellen Tracy).

To enter, check out the color options, then comment below and answer: Which color would you knit or wear? (See all our past winners, here.)

Contest closes October 21, 2010.

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

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