Wednesday, September 6, 2017


The Perfect Shade of Pink

When it comes to defining your Hatting-style, it is imperative to find the perfect hat for you. Many women focus on the size, shape and style of the hat, while other places a great amount of emphasis on the color. Afterall, your hat should compliment both your complexion and your hair color. Empress Becky of the Red Hat Power Ladies (Saarbr├╝cken, Germany) knows this dilemma all too well. She recently wrote to Hatquarters about her Chapterette’s journey to discover her Pink Hat style, and what she discovered in the end is so worth the share!

 “I can see both sides (I'm Gemini) of rules and no rules, but would like to tell you a story along these lines. When I wanted to start my very first Chapter in Germany, I told all my friends what the Red Hat Society is about and invited them to come to the first meeting a few months later. One friend was thrilled to hear about it, because she loves to wear hats and had already a small collection, including a red one. A week or so later, she said, ‘Becky, now I hear I have to wear a pink hat because I'm under 50 -- you didn't say anything about that! I can't possibly wear a pink hat with my red hair!’ I gulped and told her, ‘Well we don't have a rule about it, just a very, very strong recommendation from the Founder Sue Ellen!’ During those weeks up until the first meeting, I kept sending her very modern pictures of wonderful rose-pink and hot-pink hats, but she wasn't happy about any of them. I repeated to myself, ‘Not a rule, not a rule.’

On the day of the meeting, I opened my front door when she rang and my jaw must have dropped, because there she stood wearing a hat in old rose! ‘This is the right color for me,’ she said, ‘I can identify with this!’
Since then, she has come to love her pink hats (3 by now), declaring ‘Pinkie Power!’ at the drop of a hat. Recently, she corrected me, as I explained to an interested woman that she had to wear pink.
 ‘Not HAVE TO,’ she said, ‘GET TO!’"

 What a perfect match Empress Becky! Thank you for sharing this story with the Sisterhood!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


I’d say that many Red Hatters are just naturally good at friendship. Maybe there are some, here and there, who learned a bit more about friendship after becoming Hatters. In any case, taken as a group, I think we’re friendship experts.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one." So simple! But, like most simple ideas, it’s also very profound.

Friendship is not something we reach out and grab; it’s not something we can just demand and receive. In order to make a new friend, we must first relate to the new acquaintance as an already-established friend would do.

A friendship has to be constructed from a series of interactions. That’s one of the reasons we advocate gathering with great regularity with your friends; just being together often, over time leads to sharing lives, confidences, shared laughter and pain. It is built incrementally. What starts as acquaintance slowly becomes something more. You may not even notice that something is gradually developing and building.

"Yard by yard, it’s very hard. But inch by inch, it’s a cinch." - Anon

Then, when the not so good times come....

"But every road is rough to me that has no friend to cheer it." - Elizabeth Shane

In friendship
Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society

For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


You know the women I’m talking about—the ones who take the spotlight in a group and can also take criticism with a smile on their face. Confident women are that little piece of magic in this world that reminds us how good we are and how great we could be. Whether you consider yourself a confident woman or look up to one, it’s no secret that we’re all inspired by them. These women not only embody the traits of self-love, but they’ve also turned it into a lifestyle. Read further to discover the five habits of truly confident women.
1. They seek challenges.

The fear of failure stops many people from taking chances—but not confident women. Instead, they search for opportunities to challenge themselves and view any “failure” that comes from it as simply a stepping stone to get to where they want. These women collect experiences through trial and error, expose themselves to new ideas and constantly push themselves to continue learning. Whether it’s changing their career path or investing time and money into mastering a new hobby, confident women aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone—they live for it.
2. They support instead of compare.

With the convenience of social media, it’s nearly impossible to not know what someone is doing. It takes a swipe of a finger and a screenshot of an image to discover what someone is up to and share it with your friend. Although it’s easy to begin comparing yourself to the successes and life decisions of others, confident woman avoid this toxic decision and choose to support. Thus, they open the door to networking with more people and feeling inspired by the milestones of others (instead of threatened by them).
3. They hold themselves accountable.

Confident women not only have goals—but they also have steps they take to achieve them. They’re not waiting for a sign to make a move, because they’re already too busy taking action and pursuing what they want. These women understand that their lives are happening right now and that it’s up to them to take control of it..
4. They communicate effectively.

The ability to communicate is a skill that anyone in any situation can gain from. Confident women are the walking definition of this—they easily adjust to social settings and can hold conversations on a wide variety of topics due to their knowledge and natural curiosity to learn more. Not only are they a pleasure to speak to, but they also have positive body language that makes them easy to approach. Whether a confident woman is giving a professional presentation or explaining her feelings during a conflict, she’s able to clearly communicate in a way that’s simple for people to understand, making others want to listen.
5. They ask questions.

Similar to how confident women live outside of their comfort zones, they also don’t accept views and ideas simply because they’re told to. They’re individuals, and they aren’t afraid to be who they are—and fight for it. Confident women are natural born leaders— even RHS Queens - they’re people who aren’t afraid to ask questions to try to understand a concept better. Furthermore, they won’t settle their standards to comply with what the majority of people believe. They aren’t afraid of standing alone, and that’s what makes them worth standing with.
By The Everygirl. Edited.

 For more information on confident women and the things we do, click here.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Every aspect of the Red Hat Society has its roots in one essential: friendship.  The other things we value most – fun, freedom, and fulfillment – owe much of their achievement to one’s friends.  Of course it’s easy to see why friends are indispensable when one wants to go do something fun; we all know that everything goes better with someone special with whom to share it.  Freedom and fulfillment, while more dependent on individual effort, still owe much to underlying friendships.  It is our friends who encourage and support us, listen to us, reassure us when we doubt ourselves, and cheer us on as we strive to reach our goals. Given all this, it’s no surprise that we all value our friends.

But do we put as much effort into being a friend as we do into enjoying the friendship of others (maybe even taking it for granted)?  It’s been said that “the best way to keep friendships from breaking is not to drop them.”  I’ve been thinking about that lately.  I don’t ever want to lose a friend because I have been too busy to keep in touch, or too self-absorbed to pay attention to what she may be going through lately, perhaps missing a chance to be of help.  Staying in touch doesn’t necessarily involve a large investment of time; it can be as simple as a quick email (or tweet), a brief phone call, or even a note to let her know you’re thinking about her.  Being a friend does take a bit of effort.  But surely anyone who matters to you deserves frequent attention and plenty of support.  If you doubt that, try reversing the situation in your mind.

I think it comes down to this:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  You can’t find better advice about friendship.

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click

Thursday, August 3, 2017


In the formal Red Hat Society mission statement, “freedom” comes right after “fun” and “friendship” as one of our primary values.  Of course, we’re not referring to freedom in a political sense; we are talking about something a little harder to pin down.   Some of us have trouble shaking off imaginary shackles, many of them self-imposed.  There are plenty of adults in this world who cannot begin to really have fun (our primary value) until they deliberately confront, and face down, their own (perhaps unnecessarily stern) codes of behavior.

Psychologists tell us that we soak up vast amounts of “shoulds”  and “should nots” as we grow up, some of them from our biological parents and some of them learned from other, not necessarily benign, societal norms.  A lot of them are surely worthwhile.  But some of them are not.  Some of them only cause us to be afraid of change or stuck in unhealthy patterns. It’s up to each one of us to sort through our own “stuff”, though doing so may cause us a good deal of discomfort.  Only by doing this can we come up with our own personal codes, some of which may be quite different from the ones that we followed for our first half-century or so.  It’s never too late to “screw your courage to the sticking place”, think things through for yourself, drop old, worn-out emotional baggage, and set yourself free to experience life in new ways!

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.


Thursday, July 27, 2017


When fitness is mentioned, most of us think immediately of such things as working up a sweat or gym memberships. But fitness can also refer to the appropriateness of something. We might say that a courageous leader is "fit" for his or her position or a mom who is gently tending to her toddler in a store is "fit" to be a mother. When we put both meanings together we come up with a concept, emphasized by the RHS, that it is "fit" to be "fit." By that we mean that it is appropriate for women in our age group to keep ourselves in reasonably good physical condition in order to be "fit" for the kinds of activities we love to indulge in.
Obviously we can’t aspire to perfection in our physical appearance or abilities any more – if, in fact, any of us ever could. And no one’s suggesting that we should set our goals that high. But, speaking just for myself, I have noticed a tendency to go easier on myself in ways that initially seem pretty harmless. I’m not speaking about forcing myself to go to pump iron or anything, but I catch myself putting off my daily walk or taking the elevator when I certainly could take the stairs. These are little things, sure. But I choose not to give in to what is really, in these specific cases, nothing more than just laziness. I want to be fit so I can DO things, so I can enjoy life to the limits of my capabilities. No, I’m not as fit as I used to be, but I’m still fit to be an enthusiastic Red Hatter. Let’s all continue to enjoy our recesses with the best of them! It would just be fitting!

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017



Friendship has been our primary theme from the very birth of the Red Hat Society.  Usually we discuss it in the abstract; this time I’d like to talk about the particular friendship that Esteemed Vice Mother, Linda Murphy and I share.  It has endured for 40 years, surviving and flourishing through moves and all manner of life dramas.  

There were many years in which our friendship was nurtured, almost exclusively, by long, heartfelt letters and occasional phone calls.  Other years found us living close together (and it was during one of those periods I gave her the first red hat).  She was also the one who was responsible for landing us in “Romantic Homes” magazine; and it was her friend, Nancy Manning, who started the first-ever, second chapter – in faraway Florida.  
In retrospect, I cannot think of anyone better suited than Linda to co-host our international conventions and represent the RHS in her area.  The Red Hat Society came into being directly as a result of one special friendship between two women.  And look what has happened!  The most marvelous aspect of this is that thousands upon thousands of women have met each other – and bonded – as a result of the relationship Linda and I share.  That fills us both with gratitude, as well as pride in the ability we women have to draw close to each other and share our lives with one another.  

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.


Thursday, July 20, 2017


What motivates you? Is it money? Recognition? A sense of belonging? We all have needs that drive us, inspire us, move us to action. My passion is helping people live healthy fulfilling lives. This is what motivates me to do all that I do to encourage my Red Hat Society Sisters to Stay Active.

Ten years ago, I planted the seeds within the RHS. Ten years ago, I started my virtual chapter, Fit n Fabulous.  Fit n Fabulous was created to focus on building up the fifth F in the RHS mission: Fitness.  Hatters in Fit n Fabulous post their workouts, their adversities, their progress, their inspirations, and their chuckles. I post an exercise of the day to give everyone ideas of exercises they can do at home. Fit n Fabulous is a closed Facebook group only for Supporting Members of the RHS.

At the same time that Fit n Fabulous was getting off the ground, I started posting in the RHS forum highlights from interesting and relevant wellness and fitness articles. Hatquarters staff reviews these write-ups and selects the best ones for inclusion in the RHS Friday Broadcast Newsletter.

To do more for my RHS Sisters. I started running monthly Free Groups outside of the Fit n Fabulous group page.  These 5-day Free Groups are always theme based.

For example, we did:

Be a Rainbow in July … where we learned to eat a variety of colorful foods,
               Mid-Summer Mindfulness … where we practiced meditation,
               Move More in March … where we tracked our steps and
               Absolutely Abs … where we strengthened our core.

 The Free Groups have been a huge success with over 100 participants each month. Announcements are made about upcoming Free Groups on my Facebook wall and via emails within the RHS site.

 I am committed to helping Hatters reach their health and fitness goals, whether it’s to lose weight, get stronger, or have more energy. I am here to help.

Sunny Mathews, your Fabulous RHS Fitness Facilitator.  

Join the Red Hat Society to learn more about these activities and how to contact our fabulous Queen Sunny.       Click here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


“There is no wilderness like life without friends; friendship multiplies blessings and minimizes misfortunes; it is a unique remedy against adversity and it soothes the soul.”  Baltasar

Those are quite enough reasons to make sure you have a good supply of friends, don’t you think?  They are exceedingly handy to have when we encounter difficulties, disappointments, challenges, and the like (in other words, every day we live in this world).  When you’re handed a big bowl of lemons, the first thing you do is pick up the phone, in search of a familiar, caring voice.  Friends are the ones who will help you come up with the unique recipe for whatever kind of lemonade you’re going to need to make out of those lemons.  But if that formula proves elusive, they’ll gather around and help get you through the situation.
This sounds like making friends is all about building a safety network to get you through the bad stuff.  Not true.  Loving and being loved are fundamental to being human.  Friends make glorious playmates, fabulous fellow explorers and marvelous companions for all kinds of light-hearted activities. Your Sisters in the red and pink hats (some of them, perhaps, relatively new to your life) have already proven that point to you.   But, you know what? Undergirding all of the Red Hat Society fun and frivolity, rock-solid friendships develop. So, next time you hit a bad patch, call one of your Chapterettes.

I’ll bet she makes a mean lemonade!

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


A wise man named Rudolfo Costa once said “Erase from your vocabulary the word ‘someday.’  Do not save things for ‘special occasions.’  Take into account the fact that every day is special.  Every day is a gift that we must appreciate and be thankful for”... Live every day to the fullest and savor every minute of it.”

He offered these illustrations of his point:  “Wear your attractive clothes, wear your nice perfume, use your fine silverware and dishes, and drink from your expensive crystal glasses...”  

The key idea here is to make use of the good things in your life.  I’m sure there are plenty of us who find ourselves a little short of expensive crystal or fine silverware.  But we probably all have possessions that we treat as too nice or too special to use right now. The late humorist, Erma Bombeck, wrote about a woman who was given the gift of a gorgeous, wildly expensive lace slip.  She put off wearing it because there was never an occasion special enough.  She eventually wore it – in her coffin.  I know, that’s a jarring example, but it certainly makes the point.  The poor woman should have enjoyed this gift by using it.  It did no one (especially her) any good wrapped in tissue paper in a nice box – in a drawer.

It’s not about “stuff” itself; it’s about making use of what you have while you can.  What about our gifts and talents?  You can have all the potential in the world but it will come to nothing if you never unleash those latent talents and use them!  If you do happen to have fine crystal and dishes, have people to dinner.  If you have a talent, like quilt-making, make quilts as love gifts.  As an artist I can say that the art pieces that have made me the happiest were those made as gifts for people I love.  All of this circles back to this:  saving anything for “someday” is almost certainly preventing someone’s enjoyment.  If it involves using a talent or a possession to bless other people it will result in warm feelings all around.  And that kind of warm feeling is called “fulfillment.”  

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


UCLA published a ground-breaking study on stress, by Dr. Laura Cousin Klein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Bio Behavioral Health. Dr. Klein writes about “a classic ‘aha’ moment” shared by two women scientists.  They were laughing together, observing that when female scientists were stressed they “came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded.  When the men were stressed, they holed up on their own.”  Dr. Klein had an epiphany when she realized that 90% of the research done on stress had involved only males, resulting in the classic, accepted observation that all people respond to stress by “fight or flight.”

When women alone were studied, it was discovered that we have a third, unique reaction: we release a hormone (oxytocin) that causes us to gather together with other women and tend children.  Further stress only increases the amount of oxytocin released into our systems.  Estrogen increases its release; testosterone decreases it!  (Sorry, guys.)

All this to confirm what we Red Hatters already knew: Friendship is one of the most valuable aspects of a woman’s life; it defuses stress, bolsters confidence, and infuses confidence and happiness.  Friendship is what the Red Hat Society encourages and excels in.  Let the stress decrease!

In friendship,
Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society

For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.