Reality Check Monday: Living Successfully Over 50 During Rapidly Changing Times

Soft Surroundings wardrobe on over 50 Feeling 40


Happy Monday, everyone!  Welcome to a new Monday feature here on the blog: Reality Check Monday…which will focus on ideas for living successfully over 50 during our rapidly changing times.

Here is the Reality Check for the majority of us… who are women over 50 in 2020….

  1. We are spending more time at home…some by choice, some for protection, some from layoffs (like me), furloughs, or from companies which declared many in early retirement.
  2. Many of us find that we are in more of a financial pinch than before the pandemic. Plus, we are not sure what the future holds for our economy.



On Mondays, we will gather here to discuss ideas for how to remain hopeful and save some money during this time.  This is where you will find my weekly most affordable fashion tips, home ideas, and inspiration for going through this time together with a smile.

The idea for Realty Check Monday began last week………



Last week while caring for my grandchildren, I began to experience fearful moments like I have not had in a long, long time.  I began to fear for me & Mr. B in the future, and I began to fear for my children and grandchildren and what the world will hold for them.  I normally do not obsess to this extent.  So, instead of giving in to it, I began to evaluate why I might be experiencing this level of fear.

What I realized is I was completely off my self-care game for a week as I focused on the children and it deeply affected my state-of-mind.

  1. I suffered serious lack of sleep.
  2. I was not eating properly.
  3. I was not having a morning quiet time to begin my day.
  4. I was not exercising, except for chasing children.


Most likely the reason many moms of multiple preschoolers are at their wits end much of the time and can use some time off occasionally.

I was reminded of the importance to do all of these things in order to get through this challenging time with hope and a smile.  I am feeling much better and ready to get back to my routine. 

If you also are suffering extreme levels of fear, you might do a self-care check and see where the root cause may lie. I know for me, exhaustion really takes its toll on my thinking.  Another suggestion is to turn off the news for at least a week…too much can create anxiety.




Soft Surroundings kimono and necklace on Over 50 Feeling 40 

For many of us at this time, we must find joy and contentment in our own closets.  I re-discovered this Soft Surroundings kimono and necklace when I recently did the closet purge. It is perfect for my work-from-home life right now.  I styled It with my Soft Surroundings Metro Leggings…which may have the lowest cost-per-wear of any garment in my wardrobe because I wear them so often. The are so comfortable, flattering, and years later, look great after many washings.

I topped the look with my BZEES Chill Slip On Flat sandals…remember these are washable and super comfy.  If you have not done a closet dive in awhile, you never know what you might find.



DIY Blueberry Syrup on over 50 Feeling 40

Time and budgeting are finding me back in the DIY area and this time it is more fun than before…when I was parenting children and working at the same time.  Do you know how super easy it is to make your own blueberry syrup?

Pour a pint of washed, fresh blueberries into a saucepan and cook on medium, stirring regularly until it cooks down into a syrup texture.  Add your favorite sweetener…sugar, Stevia, Blue Agave.  I keep it in a jar in the refrigerator for yogurt, toast,  Mr. B’s waffles…whatever you like. It is fresh, easy and delicious.

Homemade Blueberry Syrup on over 50 Feeling 40



On Mondays, I will feature in the slideshow the retailers known most for affordable fashions or perhaps those hosting amazing sales during the time of the post.  My goal will be to help those of you who want to look and feel your best but live on a strict budget.  Any time you are looking for something specific, let me know and I will hunt it down for you at the best price! 

Today’s slideshow features H & M, Nordstrom Rack, Kohls, and WALMART.  Please remember if you go to any of these websites through my slideshow and purchase something different, I will still get credit for your purchase.  I appreciate all support.  I hope you enjoy spending Monday’s with me with the intention to keep our joy meters running high.



Pamela Lutrell for Goli GummiesThere are several ways that I generate income through this blog in order to cover business expenses and give myself much needed income.  Purchases through the slideshow links is one way, ads on the page is one way and a new way is through ordering or re-ordering the GOLI Apple Cider Vinegar gummies through me with my GOLI LINK HERE.  Again, if you are not familiar with the benefits of apple cider vinegar, you should speak with your personal physician.  My husband and I are sold on the benefits and I am proud to represent this product.  I am going to leave this at the bottom of my posts so that when you, friends or family would like to order you can use my link.  Thanks for the support.  This is a great product; as well as, the ones below!



Mr. B and I love our meals from Sun Basket!

Sun Basket on Over 50 Feeling 40


Sun Basket is a delicious, easy, fun home delivery meal plan


My Complexion Loves Chamonix…My esthetician says my complexion is super tight!

Chamonix on Over 50 Feeling 40

All natural, plant-cell technology skincare



By Pamela Lutrell


  1. First of all, that is a great outfit on you! The colors are wonderful and uplifting! When we get dressed in the morning, even to be at home, it is such a boost to our spirits, I think. We are able to face the day with confidence and hope. Great look today! The reasons you gave for giving in to worry last week made perfect sense. When we get so far off our regular routine it can have a huge impact. The only time this doesn’t seem to happen is on vacation! Things will probably turn around for you this week as you get back to normal. I have not yet felt panic or worry over illness and have tried to keep my life ticking along as normally as possible. My sister and I have made a habit of meeting for coffee every other week (fortunately, this place has stayed open and we are supporting them because they are a small business). Not one to stay inside or sit still for long, it was a shock to be told we couldn’t go into businesses for a time. Thank goodness that’s no longer the case. During those days I went to the park and spent time walking, reading my Bible, and enjoying the quiet of nature. I’m actually thankful that this came during the warmer months so that we didn’t have to be cooped up inside watching it snow!! I do miss my volunteer work, and we can’t visit with our mom very often, but instead of focusing on the negatives, I’m just trying to face each day normally. Today we’re going shopping for awhile which is such a treat! I think deliberately giving ourselves things to look forward to each day helps too. Even if it’s time set aside for reading or going for a walk, we need to do things to lift ourselves up. Even for those who choose to stay at home, there is so much we still can do and experience. Winter can be a huge challenge here in Ohio, so I’m planning to get back to painting and sewing, and those visits to the park are definitely going to continue!

  2. I’m getting out today and tomorrow as well, Karen! I am feeling much better just after 24 hours of self care. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I have had to unplug. Fear and anger have been setting in. I read my mail (like your blog) but no instagram and no TV. At least for a bit.
    I’ve also gone back to my yoga routine.
    Times are so fluid that it’s hard to focus. I need to be more centered.
    BTW, love the kimono.

  4. Thanks Mari! I really enjoyed my quite time this morning… I am ready for today too!

  5. This outfit looks so beautiful on you! I love you in color. Thanks for the start of another great series, I’ll be looking forward to it every week. Take care and stay healthy!

  6. wow, i love that ruana!
    i understand the worry. its hit me hard a few times lately too.

  7. I hope you are catching up on your self care and sleep. I am not a fan of blueberries, but this reminded me I can do the same with raspberries and make a sauce the same. How long do you keep yours in the refrigerator? All your work to look up options for us is appreciated, and I do hope it is not taking you off your path to elegance. After all, it is your path and we can take what ideas we like from it or not. I have been much more aware of my posture of late due to you, so thank you. Also, I am weeding out my ‘fantasy’ wardrobe that is not needed for a life I am not living.

  8. I completely welcome this topic. I suffer from fear and isolation every day. I want to hear from other women on how they deal with these issues.
    One thing I worry about is you. I know the infections are up in your area and I worry you are taking a risk to go out and photograph mannequins. I was just as happy with photos from catalogs or the internet.
    I also worry about the eating and exercise issues you have struggled with for years. These are also challenges I have. I only know about your challenges in these areas because you are so honest about them. From your self photographs I cannot tell you even have problems with weight. I learn so much about styling from you.
    The social media part of the Weight Watchers app helps me a lot to stay focused on healthy eating and exercise. Other people’s stories and experiences strengthen me.

  9. You are so sweet, Diane. Yes, I am back to caring for me. So far, the blueberry jar empties almost as fast as I make it…both my husband and I like blueberries. I ate it with cottage cheese this morning. So, I am not sure how long it stays…but I am going to do the raspberries too. Thanks for mentioning them. The posts on Elegance will still be on Fridays…and I have more tips for this Friday. So, never fear, it is still a goal of mine. I realized I was bending over often last week with the little ones around, so I am back to being aware of my posture too. Happy Monday!

  10. I hope to help keep you focused on positivity, Linlee. When I go to photograph mannequins, I wear my mask and I am not near individuals. Yes, San Antonio has had high numbers, but I believe I am being very cautious and careful. I worry more about the grocery store than the mall. I actually lost weight last week caring for the kids, and hope to keep going. I have a new plan about exercise…more about that later. But, I am keeping active and feeling good. You are sweet to care about me. It helps me to get out and about…with my mask, social distancing!

  11. Hi Pam, is your husband still working? I know you have said before that he wanted you to keep working for a few more years, do you think after the Covid 19 stuff eventually gets under control you will try to find another job? I retired the end of May at 62 and am waiting for my first SS retirement check to start in a week. My husband is 67 and retired 6 years from Boeing with a pension and is on SS too. I worked for 43 years as a legal assistant. My mind was tired. But I think there will come a point I may find something else to do to supplement my SS as you can earn a certain amount at my age and not be penalized. I have to turn off the news. I live near Seattle and Portland. It can be so depressing to hear about Bibles being burned in the streets (Portland)!etc. I don’t want to stick my head in the sand on what’s going on but the news makes me so anxious. I have to focus on the Lord and His word which is truth and prayer for our country.

  12. I completely agree with your focus, Kelly! That is where my focus is…though I did not know they are burning Bibles now too. So sad. If the news makes you super anxious, you are right to stay away. My husband is still working. I guess it is yet to be determined if I will ever return to the professional work-world. I do not believe many companies will be as open to hiring those of us in our 60s now that COVID has us in high-risk land. I absolutely love working on this blog and hope to do more writing…that is my goal to make these work as a supplement to SS. I have not filed for it yet. I really really appreciate everyone who supports this blog and comes here every day!

  13. You look fabulous today! Love those colors on you! I find I “hit a wall” a couple times a month and have to unplug, eat properly, go for walks, and get out for a ride with my hubby. Having an outside lunch with friends helps too. Stay safe and healthy and keep smiling! 😎

  14. Thanks for sharing, Dawn. Self-care is so important for a healthy, positive mindset.

  15. That color is beautiful on you!
    Thank you for today’s reminder to take care of ourselves. I’ve been feeling anxious lately. I don’t get out because of my health issues.
    I read your blog every day and appreciate all the time you put into it. Your positive attitude is contagious.

  16. Thank you, Carolyn. I hope you are feeling better. Thank you for being here.

  17. Because I recently retired due to not wanting to put myself in harm’s way by returning to school, I have had moments of strong anxiety. I’m told this is true for retirement even in normal times. I think part of it is we never got closure … the run up to the end, the cards, hugs and well wishes. As you said, even if the finances are objectively adequate, there is fear in knowing we have made a decision that may be irrevocable. I have coped by starting a new routine of walking as soon as I get up, and then taking a long brunch with a pot of tea. I made sure my kindle was loaded with escapist beach reads and read for a while very afternoon. And I have broken a long-standing habit of scrolling through the news right before bed. Both my husband and I have tried to have new learning experiences going …in his case, baking no knead bread, and in my case learning a complex bead weaving stitch. Retirement is nothing like we planned, so I think the adjustment is just longer and harder. Just accepting things as they are is helpful.

  18. I love your top. I did some closet diving and brought out several things I still love but had completely forgotten. Somehow, I can’t prune yet. I have also avoided wearing black since March. I’ve purchased several pink things and feel brighter colors help my mood. I have had a few meltdowns during this crisis. The most recent was when I saw the Bible burning in Portland, I turned off the news and won’t watch again until I feel better. Instead, at my low times, I read historical novels and binge watch historical movies. Contemporary movies make me ponder, when will we entertain again, go to out to eat and hug each other? I intentionally escape into another time. It does bring perspective however about what we are all going through. It seems endless to us, but will be just a blip in the history of time, and even in our own histories. Bless us all for this will someday end.

  19. It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the plethora of information & misinformation that appears each day. Turning off the news is a must. I, like most everyone else, have had moments of fear & despair, but I try to overcome them. We have had small, mostly outdoor, gatherings with our daughters & their families which have helped. The grocery shortage situation has gotten much better, & the return of some sporting events on tv has been a good thing for both my husband & myself, as we are big sports watchers. I am planning a mini shopping trip to an outdoor mall this week to pick up some scented soaps & candles, two things that bring me joy.

  20. They bring me joy as well, Becky. I am waiting on a sale for my favorite scented candles…which are the autumn scents! Enjoy your time out!

  21. Pam, you look just beautiful today! Thank you SO much for starting the new “Reality Check Monday’s”. What a great subject to explore. Blessings.

  22. Thank you for your thoughts, as well as all the comments, because it helps me realize how I am feeling is rather normal. I retired several years ago, and three months later my husband passed rather suddenly… no happy retirement years together. While I have a large family, none live in my state so I am facing this all alone…..and it does get very lonely. Until two weeks ago, I was getting up very early and walking almost three miles, but now in AZ it is just too hot, even at 5 a.m.! And all our rec centers are closed so cannot exercise (I live in a large adult only community with wonderful facilities). I almost never listen to the news… is just too depressing. I have to keep falling back on my faith, and praying we will come out of this…..but the virus, the protests/riots, the economy, the political craziness and election year hate, and now Bible burning….very upsetting times. So again….thank you for your happy, up-lifting, positive thoughts.

  23. Hi Lee, I am so glad that you are here and hope you will return. I fall back on prayer moment to moment and it strengthens me. We will get to the other side of 2020 at some point and hopefully we can all support one another through it and then past it. Thanks for sharing.

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