What's Love Got to Do with It?

What’s love got to do with it? That’s what Tina Turner asked in her classic hit. It was the song that was playing in my head when I was putting together this month’s Valentine Challenge…you know, an earworm… playing over and over. I couldn’t make it stop, so it got me thinking about love.

A Question for Newlyweds and Long-time Married Couples: What is Love??

What is it – the love thing?  You and I say we love. We love people. We love our pets. We love places, events, and things..

But sometimes “love” gets a little confusing. Like…several women and men have told me they love their spouse, but don’t like them. That always gets me scratching me head. Of course, I guess it makes for an interesting marriage – and one I personally believe could use The Five-Year Marriage® treatment.

But here’s a question for you….Have you ever thought about what love really means to you? I don’t know that I ever did until I wrote The Five-Year Marriage.

Love Comes in Many Forms

Five year marriage relationship success

Then I got thinking about it. When I was a kid, love was someone being nice to me. When I was older, love got tangled with sex. When my parents needed caregiving, doing that was love. How could it be all those things? Yet it is.

So I got quiet one day and started poking around in my head and heart. How do I know what love is – what it feels like? My thoughts surprised me; my conclusion didn’t.

What Love Means to Me, and Many Midlife Women

To me, love is feeling safe with the person/people I’m with. That feeling of safety allows me to be who I really am, my unguarded self – to laugh out loud, to be emotional without censor, to say something stupid, be teased, and a bunch of other things that don’t happen when I don’t feel safe.

It was so interesting that I decided to poke around in other people’s heads and hearts. Turns out love is something very different to everyone. Here’s what some other women said love is:

  • Kate: feeling like home to each other
  • Maggie: comfort in uncomfortable places
  • Caitlin: being with someone who pays attention
  • Missy: being alone but not feeling lonely

Knowing what Love is can help you Clarify your Relationships

What about you? Have you ever thought about what love is to you? Once you get really clear about what love is to you, it’s easier to identify the best places to give and get love. It’s easier to decide who is friend, acquaintance, or just a PIA you have to have in your life.

During this “love month” it could be worth a little time poking around in your head and heart. And not just for clarity. There’s something else to make it worthwhile. Tina sings that love is a “second-hand emotion.”


Love also has Health Benefits for Midlife Women!

Did you know that love has actual health benefits? It does – and it’s probably the reason the American Heart Association chose this month for its heart-health “Go Red for Women” campaign.
People in Love reap some cool rewards.  Here are just a few:

  • Fewer colds
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer heart attacks
  • Faster recovery from heart attacks
  • Fewer complications from pneumonia
  • Shorter hospital stays Longer life   Impressive, eh?

The Answer to What’s Love Got to Do with It?

The answer to “what’s love got to do with it” is, apparently, love has a lot to do with everything!

What if you don’t have a sweetie to love and love you? No worries! You can get the same health benefits by having a beloved pet, a strong girlfriend tribe, or a close knit social circle.

So, in your best Victory Chick mode, make some space in your thinking, meditating, walking, or praying to take a few minutes of soul-searching this Valentine’s Day. While love isn’t always hearts and flowers, it has a real place in your life. What is it?

And maybe by the weekend that song will stop rolling around my brain. Damn earworm… 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!
With love and in victory,

#Valentine’s Day. #Love, #What’sLoveGotToDoWithIt, #Victorious Woman Project, #Victorious Woman, #WomensEmpowerment,  #VictoryChicks, #AnnmarieKelly, #FiveYearMarriage

Women's History is YOUR History

Women’s History Month starts today and I wonder, does it matter anymore? I mean, do you ever think about the women who came before you – either historically-speaking or in your family? Who were they and how did they impact your life?

My early tastes of feminine power came from reading.  

As a kid, I devoured Nancy Drew! books; I was enthralled with her. It wasn’t just because I loved mystery novels – I could have read any one of a million of those. What I loved most was that the person solving the mystery was a girl who got respect, Nancy Drew mysteries were feminism wrapped up in a young adult novel.

Feminism wasn’t really embraced in my old-school Italian Catholic family, and well…Nancy had it along with everything I didn’t have…but wanted.

In those days, Nancy (now 89) had money, a cool lifestyle, and a boyfriend. Ned was an older college man who didn’t boss her around and treated her as an equal. And her two best friends, Bess who was, as I recall, a girly girl, and George, a tomboy, were everything you’d want in your besties.
Also, she was really smart and clever. I loved how she figured things out and how, when she got herself into some scary situation, she knew how to get herself out of danger.

I worked my way through every one of those Nancy Drew books. Then I read all the Cherry Ames novels. Cherry didn’t push the envelope as much as Nancy, so I think she wasn’t quite as exciting.

Later I moved into novels like Little Women. I thought that writer and “renegade” Jo March was the most fun. Next Mary Queen of Scots grabbed my attention.  By then I was in high school and my reading was focused on the required reading of “the classics” like Dickens, Fitzgerald, and Salinger.  Hard to find powerful women in those books!
However, high school was also when I started watching old black and white movies. My imagination was getting inspired by stars like Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Mae West – feisty women who held the reins in their lives and their movie careers. They started shaping my thinking in a way that was a 180 from my upbringing.  While much of that laid dormant in my brain until I was in my thirties, the ideas of those strong women were percolating throughout my teens and twenties.

By then President Ronald Reagan had nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to be the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, it was exciting that a woman was serving in the highest court of the land.

Since then we’ve had Ruth Bader Ginsberg – notorious RBG – and Sonya Sotomayor. But O’Connor was the first…and the glass ceiling breaker.

The late eighties brought Oprah Winfrey into my life.

She was like everyone’s best friend or big sister. Also, Barbara Bush, whose deep caring for reading attracted me, as well as her no-nonsense attitude. When I got married the first time, in the first of my Five-Year Marriages®, she helped me see a different way to have a marriage.
More recently, with all the ancestry products, I’ve been thinking about my own heritage. Both of my grandmothers were born in Italy and immigrated to the US. My maternal grandmother was newly married when she came to the United States with my grandfather. For them, as newlyweds, it must have been an adventure. Scary, of course, but they were young and forging new territories.

On the contrary, my father’s family was different. His father left his mother and sister, who was just a toddler, to make a new life for his family.  Once here, it took him 10 years to get a job, a house, and enough money to bring his spouse and daughter to live with him in South Philly. My father was born a year later.

I wonder what it was like for her, then a young woman, to live as a single mom, waiting year after year for her spouse to send her money to live and then – finally – tickets.

Was she understanding, or angry and resentful? I also wonder if her family told her to forget about my grandfather and find someone else…or if the men in her village tried to get with her. And if she had an affair while waiting…or if my grandfather did.

Yes, I think Women’s History Month still matters –  even if it’s just to get women thinking about where they were and where they are, as the foundation for where we’re going.

What do you think?

#WomensHistoryMonth, #Victorious Woman Project, #Victorious Woman, #WomensEmpowerment,  #VictoryChicks, #AnnmarieKelly, #FiveYearMarriage

What are You Waiting For?

This is the latest empowerment campaign from Bumble with the fabulous Serena Williams for the SuperBowl. It’s hard to believe that it’s still necessary to tell women and girls. That still…so many women are still waiting to be asked…for a date, for a pay raise or promotion, to speak. And so many of us don’t ask…and then we get angry because we get passed over for something.
The nuns used to tell us to do a good job and people will notice. That might have been true in the last century, but not in this century where everything moves so fast and life becomes like “short attention spam theater.”
One of the most frequent pieces of feedback I get from a Victorious Woman or Five-Year Marriage™ talk or workshop is “Thank you for giving my permission [to be empowered].
So many of us  “good girls” are waiting, often because we fear rejection and want validation. But only YOU can validate YOU. And rejection….well, we’re all going to get it throughout our lives…so we should get used to it.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, you need to step up and speak up…without being asked.
Are you still waiting for something?
#MakeTheFirstMove, #SerenaWilliams, #VictoriousWomanProject, #VictoriousWoman, #WomensEmpowerment,  #VictoryChicks, #AnnmarieKelly

Should You Act Your Age?

How to transform in midlife“Nan didn’t like a lot of people,” the lovely college student said at Susan’s memorial service on a rainy Saturday afternoon, “In fact, she barely tolerated them.” The mourners laughed in recognition, lightening the somber mood at the historic old-English-style Bryn Mawr church.

She was right. Eighty-year-old Susan wasn’t a warm and fuzzy woman. She didn’t sugar-coat anything. She would rather “tell it like it is” than wrap her words in a pretty package that didn’t convey her point – and she always had one. Susan’s straight-forward talk, competitive behaviors, and those recent tattoos weren’t always comfortable for a lot of people in her upper crust crowd.

Yet, on that rainy December afternoon, Susan’s granddaughter stood before the congregants in the pew-packed church and showcased Susan’s forthright energy as shared three things she learned from her grandmother, starting with “Never Act Your Age.” She shared how much she loved that her grandmom kept up with college lingo and always gave her a straight answer. “Nan was my ‘go-to person’ when something happened,” she said, fighting back tears. And she seemed amazed – and tickled – that her grandmother got both her tattoos in her seventies.

When she finished, three of Nan’s other grandkids spoke. They expressed childlike delight in Susan’s “boundless energy and appetite for adventure.” They told the mourners how they loved that, “no grandchild’s game, play or project was too small to warrant a road trip.” And how, when two of Susan’s granddaughters ran the most recent NYC Marathon, “Susan scrambled from borough to borough on foot, cab, and subway to catch as many sightings as she could of her two granddaughters running.”

About about those tattoos…one of them was on her ankle. It said, simply written in beautiful cursive, “Grace.” When I saw it a couple years ago, I asked Susan why “grace” and, without missing a beat, she said, “Because that’s what we all need.”

You know, we Victory Chicks are sometimes admonished to “act your age” and dress “age appropriate.” Okay advice if you feel like moving into [what I call] Alfred Dunner style. Susan didn’t. She didn’t act her age. If she felt like swimming and didn’t have a bathing suit, she’d take off her shirt and swim in shorts and a bra. Susan’s no-holds-barred behaviors served her until the day she died.

What about you? Are you tired of acting your age? Do you find being “age appropriate” makes you feel bored out of your mind.
As you head into the New Year, here are three ideas for bucking the system and putting some jazz back in your life:

1 – Do something you thought was too late to do

What do you regret missing out on when you were younger? Some event or travel, starting a business, getting a certain degree? Susan got her Master’s Degree in midlife and, in like manner, I know one midlife Victory Chick who is studying for the LSATs with the intention of becoming a lawyer. Yes, she won’t have the career she might have had at thirty, but at sixty, with more experience, more compassion, less need to get to the top, etc., she will help people in a way she never could have in the past.
Or what about finally writing that book you always said was in you? Take a class, join a writer’s group, make an outline…whatever small step you take, do it!
What is it that your age is saying it’s too late to do? Screw it – do it anyway!

2 – Learn something new.

Neuroscientists say that you can create new pathways in your brain. If old ones are dying off, learning something new can make a difference. You can learn another language, take up quilting, become an expert in local history, study astrology or spiritualism, or anything else that you’ve always wanted to do but never got around to doing

3 – Revisit your childhood

Go back to your old neighborhood and see what’s still around…and who. What do those old streets make you think of? What did you and your friends talk about when  you shared your dreams for when you grew up?
Were you a reader? Then  make a goal to read the entire Nancy Drew series again, or Little Women, or something that will remind you what you dreamed about in those days.
If none of these things tickle your fancy, what does?

The truth is, age matters when you make it matter.

If you have the ability to do something and the willingness to take action, you can do it. Sure, it might take you a little longer than it might have twenty or thirty years ago. So what?

Don’t forget, now you have more self-confidence, polish, people skills, and lots of other things you didn’t have then. Maybe in those days, not having those things kept you from being your best self – and having your best life.

And, one of two things will happen: if you die, you will die doing something you love. If you don’t die, you’ll make your life richer, love it more, feel good, and have something to look back on when you are older.

Here’s your second chance – or third or fourth. What do you want to do that you think you’re too old to do? Take out a piece of paper right now and jot down a couple ideas. Then DO something.

If you need a way to get started, and some support, you can get it with me at the Savvy Sizzle Master Class. Take a look at what I have for you…and sign up today!

You can find me here: VictoriousWoman.com, on FB @VictoriousWomanProject, or on Twitter@AnnmarieKelly

# Victorious Woman Project, #Victorious Woman, #WomensEmpowerment,  #VictoryChicks, #AnnmarieKelly, #FiveYearMarriage

Downeast Downies

Cottage View of Clarks Cove

Joseph and I call it “the Downeast Downies” – reading the paper, watching TV, taking a nap or two, and just having a lazy day.  It always reminds of that song from the musical Flower Drum Song (from one of my high school musicals – and now probably too politically incorrect for schools to do). It was called Sunday Sweet Sunday. 

Sunday, sweet Sunday,
With nothing to do,
Lazy and lovely,
My one day with you.

Hazy and happy,
We’ll drift through the day,
Dreaming the hours away.

That’s how today was. And, after 3 days of crazy getting ready to leave work for vacation, and two days on the road, it was definitely how I wanted it!

The highlight of the day was a visit from Ollie, who owns Windward Cottages. It’s always good to see him, but our first time of the season is especially happy. Joseph, Ollie and I sat at the table with some wine and cheese and caught up with what’s been going on in our lives over the past year.

Ollie’s spouse, Kelli, passed away in 2016. When she did, I wondered how Ollie would fare – especially since Mt. Desert changes when tourist season is over. I was happy to hear that Ollie was doing some traveling. In fact, quite a bit of traveling. He took a trip during each one of the out-of-season months. He traveled with the group called Road Scholar and found a traveling partner, Gayle. He also traveled – alone! – to Africa on safari – his “trip of a lifetime.”

When I told Ollie, who has been twice-widowed, how much I admired that he kept moving forward in spite of his grief over losing his spouse, he said something interesting. “When you’ve been through this a couple times, you realize that person isn’t coming back. Not in a couple weeks or a couple months. Not ever.”

Ollie’s words struck me. Of course it’s true. One spouse died but the surviving spouse is still here. And that spouse has a choice about how to live and how to honor the deceased spouse. I think living a full life is the greatest way to honor the relationship with a spouse that has passed.

RadioWrap-Up.7.20.18.JOY at the Friday Happy Hour!

Kathy McCabe
How is July like your life?
We’re midway through the summer and, just like July, many of us are at the midlife point of our lives. We know our season isn’t over…but what do we do now? Reinvention is a common topic on the Friday Happy Hour and this week we’re finding out how lawyer turned coach Kathy McCabe changed careers and filled her own life with JOY! If you want more JOY in your life, tune in this Friday?
About Kathy: Kathy McCabe is a results-driven Certified Life Coach who reinvented her career in her mid-life and has helped many other women do the same. In addition to her life coach training, Kathy has more than 20 years of experience in the corporate world working as a litigator and law-firm partner, and also as a small-business entrepreneur. Kathy loves to help women find more real joy, empowerment, and purpose in their every day lives. Find Kathy on her Website and on Facebook 
Kathy’s next online coaching group “Real Joy Group” is starting on Friday 7/27/18.  For listeners of the Friday Happy Hour with Annmarie Kelly, Kathy is offering an additional “one on one” 60-minute coaching session with Kathy if they sign up for one of her groups.
Walk Down Memory Land: On today’s show I talked about old scary TV shows Twilight Zone, Outer Limets and Night Gallery. Twilight Zone and Night Gallery were both created by the late Rod Serling. Want to take a walk down the scariness of Rod Serling? I found this bizarre sight with some paintings from the show: Night Gallery
#AnnmarieKelly, #VictoryChicksRadio, #FridayHappyHour, #VictoriousWoman


Listen to the PODCAST of this show!

Listen to “Adding Joy to Your Life | Kathy McCabe talks with Annmarie Kelly” on Spreaker.

Annmarie is “live” every Friday, from 3-4pm EST.
Call-in: 610-701-9243

You won’t want to miss Happy Hour with Annmarie Kelly …and you don’t have to!

  • In West Chester PA: turn your radio dial to 1520AM
  • Anywhere in the world: listen online from at www.WCHE1520.com (click the microphone that says “listen live” – uses Windows Media Player).
  • On your mobile devices at Tune-In Radio
  • And you can call-in: 610-701-9243

Not sure when Annmarie is on in your time zone? Find out here: Time Zone Converter
Happy Hour Radio is now available as a podcast on youtube! Catch up on past episodes & don’t forget to subscribe! Victory Chicks Radio Podcast.


leslie handlerHow do you deal with the tough stuff of life? Leslie Handler does it with humor. We’re talking with Leslie about her life and how she manages to give even the bad stuff a light touch.

Leslie is a 2015 Society of Newspaper Columnists award winner. She’s an international syndicated columnist with Senior Wire News Service and a frequent contributor to WHYY and CityWide Stories.  She freelances for The Philadelphia Inquirer, ZestNow, and Boomercafe, as well as blogs for HuffPost. Her book, Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank, is available on Amazon and where other fine books are sold. Leslie currently lives smack dab between Philadelphia and New York City with husband Marty, dogs Maggie, Hazel, and Ginger, a collection of fish, said husband’s cockatoo who she’s been trying to roast for dinner for the last 33 years, and a few occasional uninvited guests. You may follow her blog and read previously published essays at: LeslieGoesBoom.com.

Miss the Show? Listen to the Podcast!

Annmarie is “live” every Friday, from 3-4pm EST.
Call-in: 610-701-9243

You won’t want to miss Happy Hour with Annmarie Kelly …and you don’t have to!

  • In West Chester PA: turn your radio dial to 1520AM
  • Anywhere in the world: listen online from at www.WCHE1520.com (click the microphone that says “listen live” – uses Windows Media Player).
  • On your mobile devices at Tune-In Radio
  • And you can call-in: 610-701-9243

Not sure when Annmarie is on in your time zone? Find out here: Time Zone Converter
Happy Hour Radio is now available as a podcast on youtube! Catch up on past episodes & don’t forget to subscribe! Victory Chicks Radio Podcast. 
#AnnmarieKelly, #VictoryChicksRadio, #FridayHappyHour, #VictoriousWoman

STILL: Don’t let this word fool you into changing how you act

Still. I used to think of it as an innocuous word. Sometimes peaceful, like, “In the still of the night I can hear the song of nightingales.” Sometimes it can be even sweet: “Even after twenty years I’m still in love with my spouse.”

Recently, however, I’ve been thinking “still” is an evil word.

I first noticed the wickedness of “still” a couple years ago when I read Gloria Steinem’s most recent book, My Life on the Road. In it, the eighty-four year old feminist icon said the thing that shocked her so much about aging was the word “still.” Steinem explained that, in the normal course of writing and speaking, she noticed that people started asking “are you still doing that?”

At first, Steinem thought it was odd that people would ask if she was “still” doing the work that she’s done most of her life. Then she realized the question was age-related. The question was more like, “why are you doing that now…at your age.”

When I read it, I thought it was curious. But I didn’t relate. So getting “stilled” was about Gloria. Not me.

STILL: A new understanding as a midlife woman.

However, a few months ago I was looking around for a new car, one with a manual transmission. Yes, I know. Nobody drives them anymore. Except, apparently, just me and a few thousand other people in the US (it’s different overseas).

I learned to drive on an automatic, but once I got the hang of driving stick, I found it way more fun…and never bought an automatic again. However, there are very few car makers who offer a manual transmission, so it’s slim pickings. I complained.

At first friends just said, “you should just buy an automatic.”  Boring…

Then after I bought my new, fully-loaded Mazda six-speed – that’s when some of them – too many, in fact – used the “S” word: “are you still driving a stick shift?”
At first, like Gloria, it surprised me. After all, if I always buy a car with a manual transmission, why wouldn’t I get that kind of car?

Don’t let others use STILL to make you let go of your youthful habits!

It reminded me of the day my sister-in-law expressed her shock that my mother, then in her late seventies, was still wearing high heels. “I don’t even wear them anymore,” she exclaimed. But my mom always wore heels…and did until she was in her mid-eighties.

When it was her time to stop wearing them, she did. When it was her time. Then she started wearing flats. When it’s time for me to drive an automatic, I will. Until then, I’ll STILL drive stick shift.

See how “still” sensitive I’ve become? And it’s Gloria’s fault.

Take a moment to think – has anyone used STILL on you?

What about you? Is there anything YOU aren’t doing because someone is still-ing you?

OK…if it’s your kid asking you why you still wear those granny panties you bought at Wal-mart, she’s right. 😉

Stand up to anyone implying you should act “older”

However, if your kids are asking why you still want to work, still want to start your own business, still want to get your degree – or an advanced degree, still want to do so much volunteer work… remind them you’re still the mother and it’s your life and your business and to butt out.

Or try some guilt (that’s my Italian showing). Like…tell them you would have done it sooner if you hadn’t been raising them.
And if that doesn’t work, tell them two words. You know the two I’m talking about…

Us midlife women know when it’s the right time to change, until then, shine on!

#VictoriousWoman, #VictoryIsContagious, #StrongWomen, #MidlifeMakeover, #OneLifeToLive, #NewBeginnings

RadioWrap-Up.5.4.18: Women's Rights in History

Mary on Friday Happy HourWhen it came to women’s rights, you may never have heard of Alice Paul. I didn’t. She was a powerful figure in the women’s rights movement and a mover and shaker in the women’s suffrage movement. And, when women got the vote, she didn’t stop. Alice Paul was active in the women’s movement nearly her whole life until her death in1977.
It’s sort of amazing how little women know about our own women’s rights in political history? Reporter and Author Mary Walton thinks not enough – and she’s been working to change that! Her biography of Alice Paul will fascinate you!
Mary Walton is the author of A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot, plus four works of non-fiction.  She was a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer for 24 years.   Mary is joining Annmarie Kelly at the Friday Happy Hour to talk about two women who made a difference in their own day, and their contributions are important to all the Victory Chicks today. Mary Walton was a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer for 24 years. You can find out more here: Mary Walton

#VictoriousWoman, #WomensRights, #WomensEmpowerment

You won’t want to miss Victory Chicks Radio with Annmarie Kelly …and you don’t have to!

Find more episodes on youtube and spreaker.com!

Miss the Live show? Listen to the Podcast!

Marriage, Me and Barbara Bush

This week I thought a lot about Barbara Bush. First of all, who would have thought Barbara would go before George? Didn’t you, like me, figure – with her indomitable spirit – Mrs. Bush would outlast George by years?
The strength that Barbara Bush displayed had quite an impact on my psyche.
When she was first lady, and even more after she left the White House, her great spirit fascinated me. So did her relationship with her spouse, President George H.W. Bush.
If you want to read how, I posted it here: The Five-Year Marriage™ blog
#BarbaraBush, #VictoriousWoman, #Five-YearMarriage, #AnnmarieKelly