Thursday, January 28, 2016



Something was a little different in the Senate on Tuesday morning. And Sen. Lisa Murkowski noticed it.

The Alaska Republican was one of only a few lawmakers in the Capitol building following the weekend blizzard, and it was her job to handle the formalities of delaying Senate business until her colleagues could get back to work. After finishing a bit of parliamentary business, she described what she saw in the ornate chamber.

“As we convene this morning, you look around the chamber, the presiding officer is female. All of our parliamentarians are female. Our floor managers are female. All of our pages are female.”

Murkowski noted that she and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who was wielding the Senate gavel, hadn’t planned the all-women session. It was, she said, just a coincidence.

“Something is genuinely different — and something is genuinely fabulous,” Murkowski said.

She theorized that the lack of men in the ranks of members and staffers might not have been a simple fluke. “Perhaps it speaks to the hardiness of women,” she added, “that put on your boots and put your [RED] hat on and get out and slog through the mess that’s out there.”

The Washington Post – Emily Heil

Not a Member of the Red Hat Society?  There's only one, join the fun!

Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

YOU GO GIRLS! I'm resolving to say YES!

One of my resolutions for 2016 is to say, YES a whole lot more.

YES may be tiny as far as words go, logging in at only three letters, but it packs BIG meaning.
 It says, “I’m ALL IN and open to the possibilities!”
Wherever YES goes action, growth and expansion follow.
 That’s what I’m after.
The power of YES is nothing new.

 In 2013 Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, threw his support behind saying YES, when he delivered the commencement address at the University of California at Berkeley.

“Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country. Say yes to meeting new friends. Say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference in your life, and likely in other’s lives as well…Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”

Shona Rhimes, the mega-TV producer and writer responsible for Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder also discovered the wonders of YES. After suffering a stinging rebuke from her sister, “you never say yes to anything!” Rhimes, a chronic nay-sayer, was prompted to commit herself to a year of saying yes to whatever came her way. This meant say yes to everything from speaking engagement and social invitations to “wanna play’s?” from her kids. It was a transformative experience that changed Rhimes life from top to bottom. She chronicled her year in a candid memoir called, Year of Yes. More than anything, Rhimes discovered that saying yes meant breaking her lifelong habit of avoiding new possibilities and opportunities.

Bingo. YES opens the door to Life.

Malcolm Gladwell notes in his book BLINK, “most of us in life become skilled at suppressing action”. Interesting. Apparently we find a multitude of reasons why we couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t or mustn’t act. When I tested Gladwell’s statement I was completely surprised and taken aback. I could see how easily ‘no’ slipped out of my mouth. At times it appeared unconscious it just popped out. No. There it was. It was the equivalent in closing the door in someone’s face. My own! Yikes.

Saying YES is scary, it requires courage. Comfort zones are left behind. The road is unknown, full of twists and turns.  Failure could be lurking around the corner. Those who say it are willing to navigate the course whatever it may bring. They know there will be surprises but the journey will be oh so sweet!

So far my YES experience has yielded a few observations. When I say YES I come alive. It forces me to be present and in-the-moment. I feel strong, capable and open for adventure. When I think of the times I’ve said no, I see that I have chosen safety and smallness over adventure, risk and growth. That’s not how I want Life Part II to be lived. I want life to be expansive, rich and full. I want to become all I was meant to be. I want to surprise myself.

"How can you know what you are capable of if you don't embrace the unknown?" Esmeralda Santiago

Things to say YES to in 2016

I love the dawning of the New Year it’s one of my favorite times. It symbolizes new beginnings, an opportunity to make a clean break with the old and start over. Best of all it feels hopeful and uplifting. If radical change is what you’re after, here’s 5 things to say YES to in 2016.

GET MOVING – Here’s the skinny -- Fifteen minutes of daily exercise adds three years to your life! A 2012 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that when middle-aged people made a modest improvement in fitness (150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week for six months) by age 50, their chances of developing chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, colon cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's decreased by 20 percent. That’s motivation to get moving. Walking is free and accessible to almost anyone. Best part is that it can be done in community providing accountability partners and an opportunity to socialize. Doesn’t get better than that.

GET CONNECTED – Researchers from Brigham Young University calculated that being a loner is an equivalent mortality risk to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Yikes! That’s worse than not being active. Join a service club, book club, garden club, cooking class, knitting group, go back to school or take a class. Three friends and I are meeting weekly for an e-course with author Brene Brown (Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong). This is the second time we’ve done it.  Not only is it fun but we each experience surprising insights and sharing the experience feeds our souls.

 SEEK ADVENTURE – Expanding horizons could help expand the brain: German scientists found that mice who explored NEW environments grew more new neurons in the hippocampus an area of the brain that supports learning and memory, than mice that were passive and adventure-resistant. If jumping head first into being an adventurer is too much try small steps, it accomplishes the same thing.

FIND PURPOSE – We can choose to focus on leading a remarkable life that will be remembered. We can celebrate each day that we’re able to leave a lasting effect. We can strive to leave the world a better because we've lived. A sense that what we do matters may actually protect the brain from the eventual effects of Alzheimer's disease, concluded the authors of a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have been following more than 1,400 people aged 50 + since 1997, and found that those who believe they’re living with a defined purpose showed a 30% lower rate of cognitive decline. If you find you’re at the point where you’re asking, “What is my purpose?” start by thinking about what you love to do. Your purpose likely aligns with that.

BREATHE – I learned to breathe in 2015. I know that sounds crazy since I’ve been doing it my whole life. Turns out I was doing it wrong.  I likely started off right, but over the years I (like a lot of women) evolved into a shallow breathe-er and a breath holder. Sound familiar? I’m pretty sure the development of this correlates to the parenting years. Last year I discovered my breathing was actually creating anxiety, locking me into the fight or flight mode and completely wearing out my adrenal glands. So I learned to breathe. Now I’ve expanded to meditating. I highly recommend both.

“Each day is a gift, don’t send it back unopened.” Unknown

Blog contributor: Cheryl Wilson-Stewart created the Red Shoe Zone to inspire women 50+ to live fearlessly in

Not a Member of the Red Hat Society?  There's only one, join the fun!

Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to have awesome success with Resolutions

How's your 2016 so far?

If you resolved to be new and improved this year join the ranks.

It’s uplifting and inspiring to be a New Year's resolution maker. Hope abounds. Why is it then by mid January a lot of good intentions are…well…lost?  Why is it some people have stick-to-it-ness and others not? What is it about them? What do they do the rest of us don’t? I did some digging because this year I really want my intentions to stick. Here’s what I found.

  1. 21 days - Experts say creating new habits takes a minimum of 21 days of focused, concentrated effort. Be dedicated and consistent. That means doing it every day no matter what. No time off. Solid effort.
  2. Give gold stars - Create a schedule or calendar for the resolution and check off each day as completed. There’s nothing more encouraging than seeing progress! I’ve gone for the full deal and bought a box of gold stars. I feel like a kid seeing my stars all lined up.
  3. One at a time – People who successfully keep resolutions concentrate on only ONE at a time. After one is incorporated they will take on another. I’m up for a yearlong project.
  4. Find support – If your goal is to lose weight (the most common New Year’s resolution) is there a fitness or nutrition ‘challenge’ at a local gym you could participate in? There are also online challenges and lots of apps that provide support and track progress. I have 2 friends who are aiming to kick start a year of healthy eating and increased energy. They’ve mutually agreed to adopt the Paleo Diet. Together they’ve researched the program, shared info and are acting as daily accountability buddies. So far so good.
  5. Break resolution into steps and celebrate each one - If for example, beginning an exercise program and getting into top shape is your resolution there will be many successes along the way. First you’ll feel good about yourself, then you’ll have more energy, after that  you will see start seeing changes in your body, the body will reshape completely, and ultimately you may start running 10k’s or stepping it up in some other way. Celebrate all stages of the journey to maintain momentum.
  6. Make FUN a goal – Maybe your resolution is to make better use of your time so instead of couch potato-ing, facebooking, TV watching or other time gobbling/minimal payoff activity – get out of the house and become more social…. get together with friends for dinner once a month or  take a course with a friend. Try diving into a hobby where you see results quickly and can share them with friends (i.e. art, knitting, cooking). I have a friend who started making felted soap and is now so enthusiastic she’s hosting fun, how-to evenings and is talking about starting a business. Doing things just because they're fun can lead to more-than-imagined outcomes.
  7. Expect obstacles – There will be things that get in the way of your resolution. Anticipate what they might be and plan for them in advance. That way it’s merely a hiccup and you’re not knocked off your axis and plunged into despair. Besides the momentum you’ve built will help find a path under, over or through said obstacle.
  8. Setbacks happen to the best resolution makers – Before you blame, criticize and beat yourself up understand setbacks happens to the best of resolvers! Instead ask self, “What can I do differently? How can this be used as an opportunity?” Then get back to work and keep it up!
  9. Announce it! Telling people and making resolutions public sets up the resolver for success. People will want to know how it’s going. What will you tell these ‘accountability partners’?
  10. EMBRACE the symbolism of the season…it’s the opportunity to become all you can be. Refresh, restart, renew.
Blog contributor: Cheryl Wilson-Stewart created the Red Shoe Zone to inspire women 50+ to live fearlessly in Life.

Not a Member of the Red Hat Society?  There's only one, join the fun!

Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Red Hatters - What we don't do!

I have the genuine privilege of communicating with all Red and Pink Hatters in every single Friday Broadcast. I truly enjoy doing that, but once in a while, I come across something written by someone else that says the very thing that needs saying. When I do, I share it – and, of course – I give full credit to the writer; in this case she is Hatter Queen Vonda of Destiny's Divas (O'Fallon, MO).   Here is a recent post of hers from the RHS website that warmed my heart. I hope it warms yours too (especially those of you enduring the winter of the eastern U.S., Canada and Europe, where it gets COLD.)

“Dear Sue Ellen Cooper; I want to thank you for the privilege of wearing a Red Hat. Recently I was in Chicago as a Red Hat pirate and people took pictures with me, little children laughed when I walked by and I sailed on a ship with many other Pirates. Women stopped me and said, ‘What do Red Hatters do?’  I told them I prefer to tell them what we don't do. We don't sit at home by ourselves feeling sad, we don't worry that we might be different when we dress for an event, we embrace it! We don't walk down a street feeling invisible, people notice us and act as if we are visiting royalty. We don't stop using our imagination, we use it to come up with different ways to have fun. We don't dwell on our health problems, we turn our wheelchairs into race cars, our canes into swords, our woes into love that we pass from Sister to Sister letting them know that everyone of us is united by red and purple. So again, thank you, for some of the most wonderful people that ever came into a person’s life.”

Doesn’t this put the Red Hat Society experience and philosophy neatly into a nutshell? I think it does. And Vonda’s last sentence expresses gratitude for all everyone in the Society!

I’d like to take this opportunity to add my gratitude to Vonda’s. You ladies ROCK! Together we will make 2016 our best year yet!

In friendship,
EQM Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder of the Red Hat Society

Not a Member of the Red Hat Society?  There’s only one.  Join the Fun!  

Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

D is for Dough

Coloring is cool but do you remember Play Dough? Homemade clay is an art staple and can inspire activities that are all about shapes, color, texture and crafting - really, all kinds of imaginative play!

This homemade play dough recipe is quick and easy. It’s probably the softest, most pliable dough you have ever felt.

Rainbow Glitter Play-Dough
By Brianna Van Lierop and Amy Kelly
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 cups water, tinted with food coloring (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • Plastic gloves (optional)
  • Airtight containers
  • Coordinating colored glitter

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture holds together, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside until the dough is cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes. Turn the clay onto a waxed-paper-lined countertop and knead it for 2 to 3 minutes. Roll the dough in color coordinating glitter.
Once the dough is completely cool, pack it in the spice jars or in airtight containers.

  • 3 Cups of one color

If you want to make multiple colors break the dough into pieces and roll into balls.
Insert your thumb into the center of each ball and then add a generous amount of food coloring.

Knead the food coloring into the dough until it is fully mixed in. Glitter is optional.
And there you have it... fabulous quick and easy homemade play dough!!

What a fun project to do with your Chapterettes! Remember to send pictures to

Not a Member of the Red Hat Society?  There's only one, join the fun!

Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016



1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare... You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!  

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.  

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.  

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?  

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.  

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.  

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?  

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.  

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is already here!

 Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand and wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"  
H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R  to everyone!

[Compliments of internet sharing.]

There is only one; Join the fun!  The Red Hat Society.

Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas.