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.