“Juicy” Beverly Donofrio

I have lots of friends who are writers, or who want to be writers. We wonder what magic dust has been sprinkled over successful writers, and we want to know the clues. Best-selling author Beverly Donofrio knows about that magic dust – and guess what, it’s not magic. It’s hard work and rewriting and then even more rewriting. Beverly has written lots of books, but she first burst onto the scene with Riding in Cars With Boys, which became a movie starring Drew Barrymore. Since then, she’s written memoirs, children’s fiction, and she’s written essays in the New York Times, LA Times, Oprah Magazine, and Slate. Living a juicy writing life, on Keep it juicy!

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Stilettos: Fear of FOMO

I think I have the dreaded disease FOMO.

Do you have FOMO too?

FOMO is the Fear of Missing Out. I think it’s a marketing term like BOGO, you know, Buy One, Get One. But, while everyone wants to BOGO, no one wants to FOMO.

I think FOMO originated as a term when we got so many choices through social media that people began bouncing like ping pong balls between social engagements, never staying at any one party because something cool might be happening at the next one.

FOMO is the opposite of living a juicy life because you’re never really enjoying the life you have – you’re always acquiring more.

What FOMO is not is a bucket list. It’s not all the things you want to do before you die. It’s all the things you want to do right now.

I started my career as a journalist and I was really careful about staying objective. And then, I moved over to public relations, but I was still careful. The words I wrote might be close to what I felt, but they were never my words. In both jobs, my creativity was harnessed in service of someone else’s vision.

So when I threw all that aside and moved to Charleston, I decided to dive into the creative well and just let it splash all over me. So much to do.

My mom died fairly young – she was 72, and that seems young to me. Did she have that sense of so much to do, so little time left? Because I hear that drumbeat beneath everything I do.

I don’t want to do anything later. I want to do it all now.

The kind of FOMO that people talk about that comes with the distraction of social media prevents you from being truly present, because you’re always looking ahead to the next.

I feel like what I have is not FOMO – I’m not scared of missing out. It’s more BIO. Bring it on! Or maybe BOTJ….Bring on the juicy!

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Trauma & Transitions

We’re not children anymore, but the stuff that happened to us as children can still have a big impact on our lives. It can block us from living the life we want and it can block us from finding the love we need. And childhood trauma can really kick up a fuss when we try to manage the transitions that are part of being the age we are now. Certified relationship and life coach Riana Milne talks about traumas and transitions.

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Stilettos: Editing Friends

I was reading a book by business writer and nice guy Daniel Pink. It’s called “When,” and it talks cites a bunch of studies about the best times to do things…from scheduling big meetings to delivering bad news.

It’s a cool book – well, Daniel Pink is a cool guy and yes, I have actually met him. In fact, I may do a whole thing on this book in the future, but for now, I want to focus on one part.

So, in one part of the book, Pink says we have three stages of life…the launch, which gets us from childhood to young adulthood; the harsh reality stage, when life slams us with setbacks and sadness, along with some triumphs. And, finally, the final bittersweet stage.

That last stage starts around age 60 or so.

And the scientists found that the last stage is a time in which the number of friends drops.

You might think that’s sad, but you have to look more closely at the data from the researchers – and they are from the Washington University in St. Louis and Stanford University, in case that kind of thing matters to you. Anyway, these researchers say that it’s not that older people lose friends. It’s more that they EDIT friends. Because there are friends and then there are FRIENDS.

First, there are the kinds of friends who are like family. The womb-to-tomb kind of friends. Those friends, we keep. And, then there are the other friends. The Facebook friends. The nod-to-at-the-grocery friends. The friends you only see at yoga class. Those friends? We start to shed them like a snake sheds its skin.

And it’s not just that these friends drift away. We actively delete them. The researchers say the closer we get to the end of life, the more we narrow in to what’s really important in friendships, and that means fewer, but deeper, friendships.

Interestingly, this phenomenon was true for any ending, not just the end of life. End a job? Suddenly your lunch companion isn’t around anymore, and that’s fine. Graduate? Your study buddy isn’t on speed dial. It’s natural.

I did an episode of my podcast, Keep it Juicy!, on decluttering recently. It’s all about getting rid of the stuff that brings you down and doesn’t bring you joy. If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it. Don’t be the family caretaker of all the memories. Stuff isn’t people, so have a yard sale.

All of that makes sense.

Except…

Except when it doesn’t.

Now, maybe I haven’t reached that final stage yet. I’m not quite 60, although I can certainly see it waiting around the corner.

And I’m not talking about when you finally fire a toxic friend…actually, I did a whole thing about when you need to fire a friend.

So, no, I’m not talking about the kinds of “frenemies” that you need to get rid of, pronto, no matter what stage of your life you’re in.

But…

I moved to a city where I don’t know anyone. If I didn’t want to stay inside the house staring at my husband – and he would have started making references to The Shining after Day One – I had to meet people. I had to make new friends.

I can’t say they are my soulmates like Liz, my very best friend from college days. But they are fun, I care about these people, and they end our dates with “I love you,” so there’s at least some mutual affection.

I’ve been here for about five years. And maybe I just got in the habit, but I still feel that every new person I meet could be a friend. I still get excited when I click with a new person and we make a date to get coffee. I’m not editing, I’m adding.

I like to think of it as building up a valuable collection.

And I don’t feel like these friendships clutter up my life or that I need to edit them.

I’m like a magpie, collecting soft things for my nest. Not every friendship is going to meet every need. But someday, some quirky emotion will have me pulling a particular friendship out of the nest and it will be just exactly what I need right then.

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Hot Flash or Heart Attack?

She thought she was having a hot flash. You know what that feels like – out of nowhere, you’re dripping and wondering whether someone turned up the heat. But this wasn’t a hot flash. It was a heart attack. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men AND women? Hot flash? Nausea? Or heart attack? Heart educator Melissa Botello talks signs and symptoms on Keep it Juicy!

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Stilettos: Brand Me

I was talking with my friend, Brenda about my Keep it Juicy podcast.

“You have to brand yourself,” she told me.

Now, I know enough about branding to know that she wasn’t talking about a flaming piece of metal to my flank. She’s talking about the marketing kind of brand.

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as: “A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”

Companies do it all the time. The Pillsbury Doughboy is the playful provider of family baked treats, and Zappos is the online provider of shopping made easy for all the shoes you could want. Or at least, that most people could want. Maybe not me, because I have a true shoe addiction. But that’s a blog for another day.

So, I guess in that sense, branding myself is setting myself apart from everybody else out there. And that’s kind of a problem.

Talk about uncomfortable! I went to school to be a journalist. This was back in the Woodward and Bernstein days, when the reporter – well, reported – the story. You stayed in the background, didn’t let your real opinion show, and just gave out the who-what-where-when-why.

That’s not me! I’m not the story! I don’t want to be a brand!

How can I maintain a consistent brand when I’m still figuring stuff out? Even at my advanced age, I’m still making it up as I go. Heck, on any given day, you don’t know how I’m going to leave the house – dressed in Earth Mother flowy clothes, or a sharply tailored dress. It all depends on my mood.

Moodiness is fine. But, what Brenda explained to me is that I’m all over the place. I have a lifestyle blog called, “Stilettos Not Required,” that lets me get really up close and personal. And I have a podcast called, “Keep it Juicy!” that lets me act as the objective interviewer. I have followers on both.

But, unless you’re my husband – or Brenda – you probably don’t know about each other.

So, this blog is an introduction.

Stilettos, Meet Juicies. Juicies, meet Stilettos.

I think you’ll like each other.

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Decluttering: Julie Coraccio

Maybe you’ve got a junk drawer or a closet door that you have to really push to get it to latch. Maybe your whole house is a tottering pile of things you just haven’t gotten rid of yet. We talk with life coach Julie Coraccio about decluttering your life. You might be surprised to find out that, as long as you’re cleaning house, you can even declutter your relationships!

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Mid-life Funk: Suzy Rosenstein

We’ve all heard about the midlife crisis. It usually involves a red convertible and a blonde. But what about the midlife funk? Life coach Suzy Rosenstein talks about the midlife funk…what it is and how to shake it. She also talks about how to regret-proof your life. I’ll bet you didn’t think that was even possible!

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Taking Care of Fido When You Go: Joan Winograd

You probably have someone who watches your pets when you go on a trip. A dogsitter, the neighborhood kid. But what about when you go on the FINAL trip…when you die? Your family may have promised to take Fido, but are they just saying that to keep you happy? Maybe you’ve made a will to say who gets your mom’s bracelet…but what about taking care of your pets when you go? Joan Winograd of the Humane Society of the United States talks about the best ways to take care of your pet, even after you’re gone.

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Renewing Relationships: Rhoda Mills Sommer

If you finish your lover’s sentences, that can be a good thing. But if you’re finding those sentences boring, it maybe time to refresh your relationship. If you’ve been with the same old lover, spouse or partner for what seems like forever, you’re probably ready for a relationship renewal. Therapist and podcaster Rhoda Mills Sommer talks with us about how to beat the boredom with an old relationship.

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