55+ Life Magazine Winter Issue

Page 1






overseas countries for retirement

Warm & Cozy Winter Recipes Florida’s Hidden Gems Writing Your Story


Every Picture Tells a Story A WWII veteran’s legacy in photos

P er fec t D a y a t CocoC ay, The Bahamas

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THE GOOD LIFE The best places to retire abroad


Sharing your life’s tales for generations to come


TELLS A STORY A local WWII veteran’s photos enter the Library of Congress Veterans History Project



Safely taking to rivers and high seas for your next vacation

36 A PATH LESS TRAVELED Hidden Florida gems to help you avoid the crowds

6 WINTER 2022



COLD WINTER NIGHTS Comfort food for the whole family

48 LET’S GO CLUBBING Choosing a wine club that can work for you



How a personal trainer can help you meet your fitness goals


54 DOWNSIZING YOUR WARDROBE Tips for offloading those clothes you never wear

57 THE LIGHT IN OUR EYES Savvy lighting strategies for aging eyes



Preplanning can help your family during challenging times

64 RETIRING THOUGHTS Strategies to create the retirement of your dreams



Benita Zahn’s tips for staying healthy and active this winter


You never know what you’ll learn if you talk to strangers

GET MORE ONLINE Visit 55pluslifemag.com for a slideshow of more WWII images by Sgt. Carl Chamberlain and for more cozy winter recipes. And visit us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @55pluslifemag.

Photos: Cover, iStockphoto.com/StevanZZ; pg. 13 story, iStockphoto.com/Simon Dannhauer; pg. 25 story, Carl Chamberlain; pg. 41 story, Johnny Miller.


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New Year,

Notice anything different about this issue of your magazine? I’m excited to ring in 2022 with our new name and look! 55+ Living Guide is now 55+ Life! You’ll now find us online at 55pluslifemag.com. For the past year we’ve been hard at work developing this new name and enhanced look to better reflect who we are and who you are. When I bought this publication more than two years ago, I envisioned growing it into exactly what we have become with the introduction of 55+ Life, “It’s Your Journey”—a lifestyle brand aimed to inspire you to live your best life. I wanted to create something I could be proud to put my name on, something that inspires me and, more importantly, all of you to celebrate this time in our lives—a time when we can explore new ideas, people, and places with greater enthusiasm. In addition to the new name and look, we’re serving up more content than before, with a dedicated group of writers focused on writing what matters most to you, from health and fitness to travel, food, retirement and more. Take our story on retiring abroad. While I often daydream of retiring somewhere warm, I hadn’t considered retiring abroad but for many of us the dream increasingly includes that desire. See the story on page 13 to discover what countries top the list. Unfortunately, as for many of us, it took an injury for me to make a change. For the past 25-plus years, I have been involved in some kind of fitness activity. What I didn’t realize is that a certain amount of wear and tear on our joints and muscles comes with aging. I take my injury as a wake-up call that we need to consider our mobility, flexibility, and muscle strength to scale individualized workout plans. We hope our personal training piece on page 51 helps you see how a trainer might help you create the best fitness plan and stick with it. We hope you enjoy the issue, and please let us know what you think. Send your ideas to editor@55pluslifemag.com. A toast to your journey…


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Looking for the


Good Life The best places to retire abroad

Photos: iStockphoto.com. Airplane, Flavijus Piliponis; Colombia/Mexico/Portugal, Yevhenii Dubinko; Costa Rica, Albert Campbell; Panama, Anna de la Cruz; ship, Richard Guest; suitcase, DjordjeDjurdjevic.



he American dream increasingly includes the desire to retire abroad. Whether it’s driven by a sense of adventure to be somewhere new in an idyllic setting, a lower cost of living, especially affordable health care, or to be near family, spending the golden years outside of the U.S. is a burgeoning trend. It’s especially tempting for those who need to work part-time in retirement and may be able to easily do so remotely anywhere in the world, depending on their profession. According to a 2018 study by the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, 13 percent of U.S. workers and retirees want to live abroad in retirement. More than 431,883 retired U.S. workers living overseas received Social Security benefits as of December 2019. Only you can decide what makes a place ideal for retirement because it’s about as personal as it gets. But

consider the findings of International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index, which examines criteria such as affordable housing, climate, safety, visa/residency requirements, and cost of living, among others. This no doubt is a helpful start. Fill in the blanks with what is most important to you. If you ask travel and financial gurus for the best place overseas for a late-life reboot, you’ll get a lot of different opinions. But certain countries keep popping up, be they on International Living’s list or from talking to other experts. Using that information, we made a list of the top five countries to retire abroad: Portugal, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, and Colombia. We’ll tell you why they should be considered, share a tale from retirees abroad, and include some advice about what to consider if you’re thinking that you, too, want to say adios to America. CONTINUES ON 14 



PORTUGAL This is the one country that almost everyone agrees should be on your short list. It was the 5th best place to retire on International Living’s 2021 Annual Global Retirement Index, with high scores for health care, housing, climate and fitting in/entertainment. The country also has plenty of art, culture and history, and the cuisine is to die for. Popular spots for retirees include Algarve, Lisbon, Porto, Madeira and Azores. According to Numbeo, a provider of research on cities and countries, the average cost of living in Portugal is 30 percent lower than the U.S. while rent is nearly 50% lower. New North American residents in Portugal grew by 12 percent year-on-year (2020 compared to 2019), and 2019 was up 20 percent from 2018, according to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service. According to Maurits Beltgens, founder of Expat Well, which helps expats navigate life abroad, one of the most popular visas for retirees is the D7 Visa, also known as the passive income/retirement visa, which allows Americans who are receiving passive income to settle in Portugal. The income threshold for this visa is around $12,500 per year, so even retirees who rely solely on Social Security benefits can qualify for it. He also notes the Golden Visa program that enables Americans to get Portuguese citizenship after making a property investment of the equivalent of at least 580,000 U.S. dollars. “Once they have Portuguese citizenship, they are free to live anywhere within the EU without needing any visas or residency permits,” says Beltgens.


Photos: iStockphoto.com. Portugal, Juergen Sack; Costa Rica, OGPhoto, Panama, Simon Dannhauer.

COSTA RICA Costa Rica is number one on International Living’s 2021 Retirement Index. It earned high marks for health care, cost of living and fitting in/entertainment. According to International Living’s research, a couple can live “comfortably for about $2,000 a month, including rent for a two-bedroom home with North American amenities, air conditioning, plus groceries, entertainment, transportation, and health care. If your monthly budget is closer to $2,500 to $3,000, you will find a relaxed lifestyle with every comfort you require.” It’s no small matter to retirees either that “Costa Rica has, by any standard, the highest quality of healthcare in Latin America,” says Blaine Thiederman, founder of Progress Wealth Management in Arvada, Colorado. “Universal health care is provided for citizens and permanent residents. For those who aren’t either, it’s about $100 a month for health care,” says Thiederman. The “pura vida” or good life here is about the natural beauty, beaches, rainforest, hiking, fishing, golfing, horseback riding—and that’s just for starters. Another plus, he adds, “Crime is everywhere, but Costa Rica is incredibly safe.”

PANAMA Another perennial favorite is Panama. Thiederman touts the country’s beautiful beaches, weather and health care. Also Medicare is accepted, low crime, English is widely spoken, and real estate is affordable. “The average home price in Panama City is anywhere from $190,000 to $300,000, well below that of most American cities with a coastal border,” says Thiederman. International Living saluted Panama for factors such as the ease of getting a visa and establishing residency, health care and housing. For sure, the Panama pension program has perks. You must have a minimum monthly income of $1,000 from a government program or private corporation. You’ll be entitled to a 25 percent discount on airline tickets and 30 percent on other transportation, 10 percent off medicines, and 20 percent off bills for professional and technical services, among others. CONTINUES ON 17 


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MEXICO Given Mexico’s proximity to the U.S., it is a familiar favorite. Many Americans throughout their lifetimes take jaunts to Mexico. They get to know it, feel comfortable there and decide it’s where they want to be in retirement. The beaches, food, culture, history, art and ruins offer plenty to keep you happy during your retirement years. The appeal also comes down to mula. “The economic factor is the main one I look at when looking at places to retire. Mexico is an obvious choice for Americans on a budget,” says Tim Leffel, author of A Better Life for Half the Price, which profiles countries that have the lowest cost of living. Mexico is also noted for its high quality and affordable health care.

Photos: iStockphoto.com. Mexico, Marek Bubenik; Colombia, andresr.

COLOMBIA This is the fourth best place on International Living’s 2021 Annual Retirement Index. The applause goes to Colombia for its stellar health care, ease of visa and residency requirements, and cost of living. The country has good public transportation and that sunshine will do wonders for your mood. You can explore cities such as Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin and more. Nature lovers can get their fill of bird-watching, splashing in waterfalls and climbing mountains. That you can enjoy the Pacific and Caribbean Sea is another benefit. CONTINUES ON 18 





challenges. “Things move f course, thinking about slower, so patience is reretiring abroad and doquired. Buying our house ing it are two different beasts. was a challenge. It took quite Dawn Fleming, a retired intera while, and the process was national business attorney and confusing. Of course you her husband, Tom Clifford, have to find a new haira retired electrical engineer, dresser, barber, dentist, dochad been visiting Isla Mujeres, tor, etc.,” says Fleming, who Mexico, since 2001. She had just turned 60 and whose traveled there for nearly a dehusband is 69. cade before their first trip as a What do they love most couple. He fell in love with it as about Isla Mujeres? “The much as she did. In 2016 they people are so kind, the natleft Florida and purchased an ural beauty. We live in paroceanfront home in Isla Muadise. Isla has one of the 10 jeres. Though they are “rebest beaches in the world. tired,” they reconfigured the We’re an 18-minute ferry home they bought, doubled ride from Cancun and there’s its size and turned it into a vaDawn Fleming and Tom Clifford enjoying life a Costco and Home Depot. cation villa that they manage out of the Rat Race. Photo by Dustin Clifford We can get to the U.S. in a themselves. few hours,” says Fleming, who is such an advocate of retiring Because they had visited Isla Mujeres for many years, abroad that she hosts a podcast, Overseas Life Redesign, and Fleming says they had a network in place that was valuable has a book, Claim Your Dream Life, coming out next year. when they made the switch. That’s not to say there weren’t



oving to another state can be full of hassles, so retiring abroad can seem more than daunting. The to-do and to-think-about list is massive. Here are a few key things to keep in mind. You’re still tied to Uncle Sam. “Retirees living abroad must pay U.S. taxes on most income exceeding a minimal threshold. For single filers over the age of 65 it’s $14,050 and those filing jointly, $27,400,” says Dennis Fagan, founder and chief financial advisor of Fagan Associates in Troy. “This includes your defined benefit pension plan, as well as withdrawals from plans such as an IRA, 401k or 403b. Generally, your Social Security benefits will also be taxed in the United States. Check with your tax advisor.” As a U.S. citizen, you may continue to receive Social Security payments outside the United States as long as you are eligible for payment and you are in a country where the SSA can send payments. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must meet certain conditions, says Susan Dover, founder of the Social Security Resource Center, a nonpartisan advocacy organization. The Social Security Administration’s website can provide the information you need. Medicare is trickier. In most situations, Medicare will not pay for medical care or supplies outside of the U.S. Those


who decide to live outside the U.S. once they are eligible for Medicare should still sign up for benefits. You may decide to return to the States or you might need specialty care that is superior to where you have chosen to retire. Signing up upon eligibility prevents penalties. For example, Part B premiums will be 10 percent higher for every 12-month period during which you were eligible but not enrolled. “Get health insurance right away when you move,” says Fagan. You want good coverage as you age. Although you’ll need a local bank, consider holding onto your U.S. bank account. Find out if your bank has an agreement with a bank in your new locale that allows cash transfers without a significant fee. Also, keeping your investments stateside can help avoid hefty fees. A good resource for financial topics, as well as information about Medicare, voting from overseas, and more is American Citizens Abroad (americansabroad.org). The key, says Fagan, is doing your research. “Understand the cost of living there, especially the cost of home ownership or renting, food, transportation—including the cost to travel from your new home back to the states,” says Fagan. “Visit the area many times prior to moving there. It’s one thing to vacation in a place and another to live there.” n

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Story Time Telling your life’s story for generations to come



cross the region, people who may not even consider themselves writers are penning—or at least toying with writing—their memoirs. But it can be overwhelming to consider how to start, and whether you even have the skills to tackle a project to write your story. The good news is the Capital Region has plenty of support for budding memoirists. By using these resources, many people have discovered a way to begin writing, and ultimately found themselves transformed by the process of completing their memoir, even if the only readers are their extended family. Marion Roach Smith, a local memoir coach and founder of The Memoir Project, has guided thousands of people in the art of memoir writing over the last 25 years. She makes the distinction between an autobiography and memoir. “Autobiography is one big book about your whole life,” Roach Smith says. “Memoir is one specific area; it’s something you


will actually finish.” With shelves in her office lined with more than 60 published memoirs by her students, Roach Smith called the act of writing one’s memoir “transcendent.” “Memoir is the single greatest portal to self-discovery,” Roach Smith says. “You write down one area of your expertise. You tell the truth; you reveal small moments in your life. I love that people are doing this.” Marta Szabo and her husband, Fred, run the Authentic Writing Project, founded by Fred in 1993 in Woodstock. The couple has worked with both fledgling and more seasoned writers from all walks of life and ages, from the teen years on up to older adults. According to Marta Szabo, authentic writing is about the content of peoples’ lives. “It is straight from life; they are concrete moments,” Marta Szabo says. “They can be from decades ago or yesterday and still be in the same piece. There

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Photo: iStockphoto.com/adamkaz.

We at Fagan Associates ARE. needs to be a starting point but in some ways, that story continues as we live our lives.” At the Authentic Writing Project, people can participate in virtual workshops held three times a week or daylong monthly sessions. No prerequisites are required. The couple welcomes everyone from published writers to those who would like to be but haven’t gotten around to it. Marta Szabo’s advice for people wishing to write about their life is simple: “Take the plunge,” she says. “Go with the first scene that arises. Don’t embellish. Stick to what you have lived.” Can memoir writing be a form of therapy? Marta Szabo gives this question a resounding “yes.” “Making art is by definition therapeutic,” she says. “When you create something out of nothing, it has all kinds of positive benefits, not the least of which is gaining acceptance of yourself and from others.” Carly Hamilton-Jones, a life and business coach in Saratoga

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bly cathartic,” he says. “It’s full of emotion. I’m writing to leave Springs, encourages people she works with to do journaling something behind after I’m gone, so my story is remembered.” to help them sort out the stories of their lives. “It’s very helpKate Wooddell of Brunswick has been writing about her ful for people to write it down, because they will see patterns life for years, but just recently became serious about the task. in their thoughts and emotions,” Hamilton-Jones says. “Then She previously published a chapbook that she calls a “preyou can begin to change those patterns for the better.” lude” to her memoir about having a family Hamilton-Jones also says the task of writmember plagued with alcoholism. ing down your story can be joyful. “I encour“Memoir is the “It took me 50 years to figure my family age people to celebrate the process,” she says. out, but now I’m getting it organized,” Wood“You can see where you’ve been and where single greatest dell says. “It’s my own story, but I know othyou are now; that can be very gratifying.” portal to ers will connect with it and realize it’s OK Joe Di Bari of Halfmoon was a teacher to tell the story. Just dig deep and find the in urban schools for over 25 years. He also courage.” lived with other family members after losing Jennifer O’Brien of Castleton has been his parents in a plane crash as a child. He .” an English teacher and also has taken is now writing his life story, which he says — ­Marion Roach Smith writing classes at Bard to hone her skills. is partially about what he learned working The Memoir Project O’Brien’s story involves connecting with with students and partially family recollectwo half-siblings that were given up for tions and his sense of both love and loss. adoption decades ago. She tracked them down and forged The memoir begins with Di Bari’s amusing stories. “They relationships with them, which gives her story a rather say that kids do the craziest things, and I’ve seen it all,” Di happy ending. Bari says. “I have so many anecdotes to share with other “I wrote it from my unique perspective and want to find teachers and parents to give them a laugh or two. It’s really out if anyone has similar stories,” O’Brien says. “I am looking a hoot.” for a common thread.” At the same time, Di Bari is documenting his own personSorting out and writing down your life story is, in the end, al life journey. “I put myself into this book,” he says. “It lets a way of preserving the memories and finding others whose me relive days with my dad, my uncle and grandfather. I’m lives have taken the same twists and turns. “You’ve always talking to them in the dream world.” had all you need to write a memoir,” Marta Szabo says. “EvDi Bari has written fiction and poetry for much of his life, eryone has stories. It’s time to use yours.” n but says memoir is especially dear to his heart. “It’s incredi-

Photo: iStockphoto.com/South_agency.



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Every Picture


Tells a Story A local WWII veteran’s photos enter the Library of Congress Veterans History Project

Background texture: iStockphoto.com/MARIIA VASILEVA.


oto The ph s top that “s n li Michae s”... k his trac

...shows his father, Sgt. Carl Chamberlain, standing on Red Beach in south France during Operation Dragoon, an Allied invasion in August 1944. WINTER 2022 | 55PLUSLIFEMAG.COM 25


At first, some of the snapshots could be mistaken for those of a tourist...

...but then the visual story takes a turn. 26 55+ LIFE MAGAZINE | WINTER 2022


ike so many World War II veterans, Carl Chamberlain only discussed his experiences on the front lines a handful of times with his son, Michael. But while so many veterans’ stories have died along with them, Carl left behind a treasure: a visual account of his experiences, captured on black-and-white film. At first glance, some of the snapshots could be mistaken for those of a tourist. The Roman Colosseum, Italian beaches, and architecture in Pompeii feature prominently. But then, the visual story takes a turn: a picture of a torpedo-shaped munition is labeled “practice bomb” in neat handwriting, and a snapshot appears of two young men sitting on either side of a sign that warns of a dangerous firing zone. Chamberlain, who was 21 and working in Albany when he enlisted, took hundreds of images during the time he served, mixing the daily perils of war with touchingly mundane moments of camaraderie. After Carl passed in 1993, Michael Chamberlain of Auburn regretted that he had not encouraged his father to tell more stories from his time at war. He promised himself he’d catalog the photos and research their background when he retired, which he did in 2018. Michael has since spent untold hours sorting through ephemera Carl left behind. Carl enlisted in the Army in 1942. Unmarried at the time, he was part of the survey crew on the State Barge Canal. (He met his wife while working for the New York Central Railroad after the war and married in 1947.) Already a dedicated hobbyist in his personal life, Carl dutifully carted his Kodak Duo 620 along with him from place to place—travels that took him as far as North Africa, Italy, and France, among other destinations. Considering the size and weight of a camera and film in 1942, it was no small task. One particular image that stops Michael in his tracks shows his father standing on a French invasion beach on August 16, 1944, the day after a dangerous landing. Carl began his service as a member of the 82nd Airborne, 504th Paratroop Infantry Regiment, Company B. The group was an early experiment in delivering men to battle by leaping out of a plane. It was so risky, it paid better than being a pilot—a fact that makes the images’ existence even more unlikely and precious. Michael thinks Carl may have chosen this option in part because of the pay. His father had died when he was 11 and he was the breadwinner for his family. Despite the constant danger, “He had his camera with him almost all the time,” Michael says. “Some of the stuff is incredible.” But even though his father’s images are Michael’s prized possessions, he is determined to give them away. He is organizing, digitizing and donating Carl’s trove of images to the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project—and by doing so, his family’s personal history has become public. It’s a small, but illuminating piece of the nation’s history, plucked from a time when soldiers believed they had to contain and

Cpl. Young

Sgt. Kupperman

Lt. Hruby

These soldiers are part of the 334th QDS Aerial Resupply unit, seen here near Nice, Sept 1944.

Pvt. Schelender and Pvt. Eds of the 82nd Airborne seen here at Alabama Training Area Range Shack, Ft. Benning, April 1943 suppress the experiences they had survived. It’s not easy to let the family treasures move to a new home. But Michael feels it’s important, and hopes other families will consider doing the same, partly as a way of honoring the sacrifices people made by going to war. “Their place in history matters,” he says. “They’re the only ones who can tell it.”


onica Mohindra is the acting director of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. She says collecting war stories and photos helps create a human scale against which to measure a collective experience that can feel incomprehensibly large. They collect first-person narratives in the form of recorded WINTER 2022 | 55PLUSLIFEMAG.COM 27


The Kodak Duo 620 that Carl Chamberlain used to document his experience during the War. use and constant generating of understanding that happens.” audio or video interviews conducted by friends and family As Michael Chamberlain puts it: “History is not somemembers, each at least 30 minutes long. They also collect thing that’s out there. History is something we’re involved in two-dimensional items, such as letters, diaries, memoirs every day.” and—of course—photographs. The project has already colMichael still has lots of gaps in what he knows about his lected about 112,000 interviews and documents, and they refather. But being able to place Carl’s experience in the context ceive between 200 and 300 more every month. In addition of tens of thousands of other war stories hints reassuringly to being a generous gesture, donating documents also enat the blanks still left in his story. Michael hopes his consures they’ll be stored carefully and protected from all-tootribution will provide the same common tragedies, from water kinds of insights for others. damage to rodent interference Visit us online at 55pluslifemag.com to see “These photos gave me the or even just being misplaced. more of the photos Michael Chamberlain backstory that made my apThe collected stories aren’t collected for the Veterans History Project. preciation of my dad that much simply archived for posterideeper. That was a real gift,” he ty, or allowed to gather metasays. “This is about sharing these photographs with a widphorical dust. Instead, the process of compiling and sharing er audience. Maybe they see their own fathers or grandfaall these stories transforms them into something more. thers—or places their family had been.” The Veterans History Project staff curates digitally Michael is not finished with his family history. He plans accessible collections to help make their exhaustive archives to continue his research, pursuing every detail with a dogmore accessible. People use them to do family research, gedness his relatives say he must have inherited from Carl. create documentary films, and find inspiration for artistic “When I get involved in a project I jump into it with both expression. Some artifacts have made their way to the feet,” he says. “People who know me say they see the same History Channel and PBS. trait in him.” n “We’ve had instances where collections are interpreted and used for, say, an exhibit or a report,” Mohindra says. “And then that influences a mural being made that helps to Do you have photos and stories you’d like to share with the further understanding of the story, or choreography being Veterans History Project? Visit loc.gov/vets for information on created for a modern dance. The legacy is in the use and rehow to get involved.


Illustration: Computer icon by srip from flaticon.com.

Photo: Shawn Miller/Library of Congress

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Cruise Control Safely taking to rivers and high seas for your next vacation BY JOANNE CLEAVER


“Healthy return” is the byword at Royal Caribbean Interna-


Photo: iStockphoto.com/damircudic.


assengers flocking back to cruises are finding a new definition of normal. With CDC requirements for passenger COVID-19 vaccinations firmly in place, cruise lines now find themselves in the happy position of offering customers COVID-safe bubbles. Advance bookings are booming, coinciding with the long-planned introduction of new ships. Travelers itching to either return to cruising or knock a coveted cruise off their bucket lists will find refreshed amenities, new procedures and few bargains. As ardently as the cruise industry wants to streamline COVID-19 protocols, the new procedures require non-negotiable advance proof of vaccination and last-minute testing. The extra effort has boosted passengers’ determination to make the most of their cruises: people are booking bigger suites, earlier, and for longer cruises. “People are saying, ‘If I’m going to go through all this testing and effort, I’m going to go for a longer vacation,” says John Kusek, manager of travel agency operations with AAA Hudson Valley in Albany. For financially beleaguered cruise lines, the burst of bookings is building needed momentum. For passengers, the upswell of interest, combined with the difficulty of conforming with last-minute health protocols, complicates bargain-hunting. The upshot: if you crave a particular cruise, especially with sufficient private space on board to escape the crowds, don’t delay.


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tional, said President Michael Bayley at the christening of its newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, in November in Fort Lauderdale. At Royal Caribbean and other major lines, the cruise experience has been recentered around on-the-spot health procedures. At the entrance to the airy Windjammer food court on the Odyssey, guests are directed to multi-fauceted trough sinks for efficient hand-washing before approaching the buffets. Pre-portioned buffet items are now served by staff. Instead of guests helping themselves, guests now point to the plate bearing a portion, such as a bagel topped with swirls of cream cheese and twirls of lox. Staffers wield the spoons and forks to add vegetables, pastries, and meats and side dishes to guests’ plates. Want a yogurt parfait? A staffer will hand you one and then top it off with the chopped nuts and fruit you request. While social distancing is universally requested, that’s not always possible on ship elevators and in corridors. So far ship protocols apply mask mandates according to the mix of vaccinated guests—that would be all adults, in compliance with CDC guidelines—and proportion of children, who are less likely to be vaccinated. (See sidebar for tips on navigating health protocols) The more children on board, the more likely that masks will be required in public areas. Experienced cruise passengers must learn the new


COVID-management ropes, say advisors, and that extends beyond health protocols. Cruise lines took the forced hiatus to build mobile apps that bring health verifications, travel documents, agendas, reservations and other travel tools all to one place, streamlining confirmations and on-board time and event management. Onboard messaging among guests, itineraries, health records, onboard charges and reservations largely can be handled through each line’s dedicated app. But, at the same time, cruise lines offer only bare-bones onboard Wi-Fi: the emerging industry standard is one device per cabin online at any given time. That means that a couple, for instance, must switch back and forth between their devices to pick up external email and go online. Upgraded Wi-Fi is available for about $10 a day. The mismatch between app functionality and Wi-Fi bandwidth means that you might not be able to use the app just when you need it most—to track down a traveling companion or family member. It’s best to print out copies of the itinerary in advance and have a Plan B for rendezvousing with companions in the likely event that the app doesn’t keep you as connected at sea as it might on land. SIZE MATTERS

Managing exposure to crowds and the risk of picking up any

Odyssey of the Seas is Royal Caribbean International's newest ship. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean

illness, but especially COVID-19, has reordered traveler expectations. Large-ship lines have organized their space and activities to enable a few travelers to create their own bubbles, with pools, hot tubs, common lounges and large suites that keep those guests in contact with fewer people. “Bubble class” is a new concept that many large-ship aficionados might not be familiar with, say advisors, especially as the extra space comes at a high premium. Cruise lines that offer dedicated destinations enable guests to limit their exposure to only those on their boat. Royal Caribbean and other big-boat lines own small islands for the exclusive use of their guests. That extends the online bubble of vaccinated guests to one shore destination. The traditional appeal of smaller ships—that they can go to smaller ports and harbors where big ships won’t fit—now is layered with the draw of fewer passengers, says George Balough, owner of Blue Skies Travel in East Greenbush. “With only 200 people or so, you’re creating your own bubble, and you know that you’ll see destinations that are not visited by that many other travelers,” he says. The bucket-list crowd is booking well in advance, often for the most spacious and expensive suites, according to Steve Simao, vice president of sales for Windstar Cruises. Windstar operates smaller ships that accommodate 200 to 300

guests and that frequent lesser-known ports in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Asia—such as Monemvasia, Greece, and Lipari, Italy. “We’re way ahead for 2022,” he says, “For 2023, we’re in double-digits for our 79-day cruise, and that’s a long cruise.” Riverboats and canal barges are the smallest ships of all, but also were located in the hardest to reach destinations in the past year, as ever-changing health guidelines complicated Americans’ access to European and Asia, Balough says. Indeed, specific countries are moved on and off the CDC’s warning lists on a weekly basis. In mid-November, Iceland, a popular cruise destination, abruptly moved into the “avoid” list. Given the high stakes of cruise plans, many Americans have turned their cruise enthusiasm to the more reliable domestic destinations, such as the Mississippi, New England coast and Western rivers. “People are looking inward at the history of the U.S.,” says Balough, who reports an unprecedented volume of U.S. river cruise demand in the past 12 months. On board the 5,000-passenger Odyssey, options for freshair relaxation abound. While the ship offers secluded lounges and a pool reserved only for suite guests, it also offers multiple open-air pools and spas accessible to all passengers. And there’s nothing like an evening walk around the perimeter of a ship under a spray of stars in the warm breeze off the Florida coast. CONTINUES ON 34  WINTER 2022 | 55PLUSLIFEMAG.COM 33



Take nothing for granted: The logistics of arriving on

Photo: iStockphoto.com/Tetiana Soares.

time for cruise departure, with the correct paperwork, change almost daily. Here’s a checklist of considerations and resources to help ensure that you are on the ship when it leaves. Rely on the cruise line mobile app as your wallet for identification, documents, vaccination validation, and onboard itinerary, maps and reservations. The current generation of apps includes more than ship diagrams and maps; it enables the cruise operator to potentially track where you have been onboard and whom you might have encountered, for purposes of contact tracing if a COVID outbreak occurs. Note, that thin Wi-Fi access on board could short-circuit your reliance on the app. Always bring paper printouts of your reservations, itineraries and health paperwork. Assume you need your passport. Some large-ship cruise lines own their own Caribbean islands, but those islands are in the jurisdiction of another country. For instance, the CocoCay island owned by Royal Caribbean and operated as its captive destination is in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas. Don’t rely on split-second timing to arrive on time. Your airline might be caught in a maelstrom of staff shortages, supply shortages and weather chaos. Even in the mild, blue skies of autumn 2021, Southwest and American airlines both canceled hundreds of flights over multiple consecutive days. Plan to arrive the day before your cruise is set to depart and have a Plan B in hand for finding a substitute flight. Monitor the TSA pandemic protocols (tsa.gov/coronavirus), and allow plenty of time to navigate airport security. Monitor travel regulations at the Centers for Disease

Control website, which has a section devoted to cruise policies and practices (cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/cruise-travel-during-covid19.html). Expect your cruise line to require proof that you are COVID-free via a COVID test taken within 48 hours of departure, the standard required by the CDC at press time. And, note that the CDC recommends that for your own guidance, you should take a COVID test three to five days after you arrive home. Document your vaccination and test status in several formats so you have backup if the internet fails. Carry digital photos and paper printouts. Be prepared to show both digital and paper verifications of COVID-free status at the point of departure. Kusek notes that while the major cruise lines have largely adopted similar processes, it’s important not to assume there is a universal standard for the industry. When in doubt, duplicate health documents, carrying both print and digital versions; upload as many documents as you can in advance via the cruise line’s app; and still expect to show last-minute verifications in paper as part of the onboarding process. Masks: Cruise lines stock them at onboard shops, but bring several so you are always complying with onboard protocols. And, know that connecting transportation and security lines almost surely will require masks. The bottom line: Expect to comply with the most stringent health protocols, and do not assume that the recent experience of another cruise passenger is a firm indication of the expectations for the cruise you are about to have. n


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Clockwise from top left: One of the #DeLandWings selfie stops created by artist Erica Group; Daytona Beach dunes at sunrise; designated manatee refuge Blue Spring State Park; the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse near Daytona Beach.


Photos by Laurie Rowe Communications, except #DeLandWings by Vikki Moran, kayaks by Get Up and Go Kayaking–Naples.


Clear-bottom kayaks allow paddlers to see everything in the water below.

Things to do: • Explore Lovers Key State Park (8700 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach), a popular swimming and kayaking spot. Comprising four barrier islands, the park is home to manatees and dolphins with consistent viewing opportunities not found in other parks.

A Path

Less Traveled

• Everglades Wonder Gardens (27180 Old 41 Road) is a wildlife sanctuary offering three acres of botanical plants. Flora and fauna options include a butterfly garden for butterfly lovers, alligators under a swing bridge for adventure seekers and gorgeous tropical birds and botanicals.

Hidden Florida gems to help you avoid the crowds BY VIKKI MORAN


lorida is a popular spot for Capital Region families. It’s less expensive than the Caribbean Islands and certainly easier to reach. Too often, though, people think of the oft-traveled Keys, amusement parks and major cities like Miami or Tampa as the only places worth visiting in the Sunshine State. Here are some lesser-known hidden gems to consider for a serene and lovely respite from the cold.

• Get Up and Go Kayaking (Estero Boulevard) offers a 2.5-hour clear-bottom kayak tour that enables kayakers to see everything in the water right under them. The tour guides take plenty of pictures and provide unique facts about the area and the mangrove tunnels. The Located in southwest Florida and along breathtaking coastal beach views are the Gulf Coast, Bonita Springs has been one-of-a-kind. unfairly referred to as Naples’ stepsister. Bonita stands well on its own, though. Places to stay: The sea beckons with Gulf Coast beaches and parks, including gems like Little • Latitude 26 Waterfront Boutique Resort Hickory Island Beach Park and Bonita Beach Park. Sand dunes dot the 4701 Bonita Beach Road SW, Bonita Springs beaches and water sports offer a true This apartment hotel along a dock with warm weather escape.

Bonita Springs



direct bay access features a hot tub and plunge pool, as well as loaner kayaks, bikes and paddleboards. • Hyatt Residence Club Bonita Springs Coconut Plantation, 11800 Coconut Plantation Drive, Bonita Springs This one-stop stay includes a 1,000-foot river pool, several luxurious hot tubs and four pools. Sunset cruises, sailing, fishing excursions, party vessels and boat rentals are also available to guests. Places to eat and drink: • Molino’s 26841 S. Bay Drive, Bonita Springs (located in Promenade at Bonita Bay mall) Casual fine Italian dining is the focus at this award-winning restaurant known for excellent seafood and Italian food. • Coconut Jacks 5370 Bonita Beach Road SW, Bonita Springs Consistently voted one of the top Bonita restaurants each year by the locals, Coconut Jacks has great waterfront views, exotic tropical cocktails and super-fresh seafood. • Figs Grille 25987 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs European classics, seafood, and a fabulous wine selection make this a special spot.

Volusia County

Daytona Beach, DeLand and New Smyrna Beach

Volusia County is as varied as Florida itself. While it’s close to the Kennedy Space Center and Orlando attractions, it’s worlds away from most of the crowds. A day can include a visit to the Daytona International Speedway or a visit to the breathtaking drive-on beaches where you can park and lounge about, a cold beverage close at hand. Volusia County is family and pet friendly. Things to do: • Daytona Beach is having a bit of a renaissance. Previously known as a spring break haven, the city has worked hard at making this community family friendly. Drive one of the most magical beaches in the world. Wander some outstanding museums like the Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of Arts & Sciences (352 S. Nova Road) the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art (same address), the Southeast Museum of Photography (1200 W. International Speedway Blvd.) and, of course, experience the “World Center of Racing” at Daytona International Speedway. (1801 W. International Speedway Blvd.). Sign up for daily tours online. • DeLand is authentic Florida with the coveted “America’s Best Main Street” distinction. Main Street strolling includes boutiques, fabulous restaurants, nine museums, candy and ice cream shops, and no shortage of distinct-


ly DeLand-style bars and brewery stops. Take a selfie at #DeLandWings stops throughout the city. The unique Wings of the West murals by artist Erica Group each feature a set of wings representing something about the location in which they are found. Be sure to take in a show at the historic Athens Theatre (124 N. Florida Ave.). Expect DeLand Broadway-style entertainment in a completely restored gem of a theatre. • New Smyrna Beach has a vibrant arts community on Canal Street. The Hub on Canal (132 Canal Street) is just one of the many galleries featuring local and very talented artists. Canal Street is also popular for its weekly events and vintage car shows. The town’s water is notorious for being the “Shark Bite Capital of the World” (small nibbles), but instead of avoiding this nickname, the town celebrates it. Grab lunch or cocktails on Flagler Street and watch the NSB world pass by. Places to Stay: • Night Swan Intracoastal Bed and Breakfast 512 Riverside Drive, New Smyrna Beach Recently featured on the Travel Channel’s Hotel Showdown Impossible, this B&B sits in one of the most beautiful locations in New Smyrna Beach. The breathtaking views and cozy atmosphere offer a welcome sanctuary after a funfilled day. • Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach 918 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach Panoramic ocean views, legendary Hard Rock amenities, and modern luxury are the calling here. You will have a front row to one of America’s most famous beaches. This Hard Rock even has a VIP Pet Program where your pet can enjoy treats such as custom pet playlists, special amenities and designated places just for them. • The Artisan Downtown Hotel 215 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand The Artisan is situated near gourmet restaurants, trend-setting bars and a nightlife that includes monthly festivals and live music. The Lounge Martini and Tapas restaurant at this boutique property is perfect for sipping a craft cocktail and people watching. Places to eat and drink: • The Breakers Ocean Front Restaurant & Bar 518 Flagler Ave., New Smyrna Beach I defy you not to eat a burger here! Awesome creations are on tap until evening but escaping the beach sun and skipping in to grab a bite and drink is part of the fun of this beachy bar that offers iconic and great views. • Chica’s Cuban Cafe 215 S Woodland Blvd., DeLand The best Cuban cuisine I have had outside of Ybor City!

Wash down all the fab food with a true Cuban coffee. • The Cellar Restaurant 220 Magnolia Ave., Daytona Beach This well-known restaurant is located in the historic home of President Warren G. Harding and widely recognized for excellent upscale Italian food and wines.

Relaxing on New Smyrna Beach. Photo by Vikki Moran

Gulf County Port St. Joe

No matter where you stand at any point on land in Gulf County, a body of water is less than five minutes away. The Gulf of Mexico draws many people for its waves, but the rivers, lakes, lagoons and creeks offer variety for all who can’t get enough of the waters. With 44 miles of shoreline throughout the county, paddling or fishing, shelling or scalloping, snorkeling or diving are the amusements of choice. Things to do: • Visit Port St. Joe to get the local flavor of the Gulf Coast of Florida. Known by its residents as a “small town with a big heart,” Port St. Joe has postcard-perfect surroundings that invite lounging on a soft, white-sand dune beach, snorkeling in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as fishing or dining at a rustic fish shake. The walkable downtown has gift and antique shops, bistros, vest-pocket parks, wide greenways and an inviting waterfront marina. Rent a boat or charter a fishing trip at the Port St. Joe Marina (340 Marina Drive) to net this perfect tranquility. Places to stay: • The Port Inn and Cottages 501 Monument Ave., Port St. Joe Recently renovated, this charming spot is across the street from the waterfront while within walking distance from the lighthouse, cute shops and wonderful dining in town. • The Turtle Beach Inn 140 Painted Pony Road, Port St. Joe This Gulf front bed and breakfast with cottages is located on the panhandle of Florida on Indian Pass Beach. To stay at The Turtle is to experience the charm and beauty of the “Forgotten Coast.”

Photo: Vikki Moran

Where to Eat and Drink: • Sand Dollar Café 301 Monument Ave., Port St. Joe Perfect for a southern style breakfast and lunch. The Charleston Shrimp & Grits is killer. • Sisters’ Restaurant 236 Reid Ave., Port St. Joe Known for delicious American Southern favorites, home-cooked desserts and daily specials with great family prices. n WINTER 2022 | 55PLUSLIFEMAG.COM 39

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Hearty Fare for

Photo: iStockphoto.com/Lauri Patterson.

Cold Winter Nights Comfort food for the whole family RECIPES FROM JENNIFER SEGAL OF ONCE UPON A CHEF


e all hibernate to some extent in the winter. Even those of us who enjoy a day on the slopes or in the woods know there’s nothing like coming home to a warm meal and cozy house. We checked in with Jennifer Segal of Once Upon a Chef to see what she’s got cooking that might fit the comfort food box. Here are a few that might be just right for you and yours. RECIPES BEGIN ON 42  WINTER 2022 | 55PLUSLIFEMAG.COM 41




INSTRUCTIONS NOTE: For this recipe, you’ll need 4 to 6 oven-safe (to 425°F) soup bowls. For larger portions, use bowls with an 18 to 20-oz capacity; for smaller portions, use bowls with a 12 to 14-oz capacity. If making 4 servings, one (14-oz) package of puff pastry will suffice. However, if making 6 servings, you’ll need another package. 1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Dust a clean, dry work surface with flour




4. 5.

and place the puff pastry over top. Sprinkle the pastry with flour and roll to about 1/8-inch thick, smoothing the creases with the rolling pin at the same time. (Depending on the brand of puff pastry you buy, you may not need to roll it out that much.) Using a sharp knife, kitchen shears, or a pizza cutter, cut out 4 circles about 2 inches larger than the diameter of your soup bowls. (Alternatively, cut out 6 circles if making smaller portions.) Place the dough rounds on the foil-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use. Heat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack to the center position.


1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the yellow onion, garlic, celery, pearl onions, and carrots. 2. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are just cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. 3. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. 4. Add the broth, cognac, salt, and white pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the bottom and corners of the pan to incorporate the flour. Simmer until thickened, a few minutes.

5. Off the heat, stir in the heavy cream, thyme, chicken, and peas. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. (Note that the broth will taste a little boozy at this point. That’s okay—the cognac will cook off in the oven.) 6. Ladle the filling into 4 large or 6 small oven-safe soup bowls. The filling should come up no more than three-quarters of the way to the top of the bowls. Do not overfill. 7. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Remove the pastry rounds from the refrigerator. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash. 8. Place the cold dough rounds over the bowls, pressing firmly around the edges so that the dough adheres. 9. Transfer the bowls to the foil-lined baking sheet. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Using a sharp knife, make a ½-inch slit in the top of each pie. 10. Place the bowls on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is a rich golden brown. 11. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then use a wide spatula to carefully transfer the hot bowls to serving plates. Sprinkle a few fresh thyme sprigs over top of the bowls and serve. NOTE: The pies may be assembled and refrigerated up to a day ahead of time. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash before baking.

Photo: iStockphoto.com/jonathan_steven.

INGREDIENTS • 1 to 2 packages frozen puff pastry, best quality such as Dufour or Pepperidge Farm, thawed (see note) • 4 tbsp unsalted butter • 1 medium yellow onion, diced • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped • 3 stalks celery, diced • 1 cup frozen pearl onions (no need to defrost) • 3 carrots, sliced into ¼-inch rounds • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the pastry • 2-½ cups low-sodium chicken broth • 1/3 cup Cognac or brandy (okay to replace with more chicken broth if avoiding alcohol) • ¾ tsp salt • ½ tsp white pepper • ½ cup heavy cream • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or a combination thyme, rosemary and sage), plus a few thyme springs for serving • 3-4 cups shredded cooked chicken, from 1 rotisserie chicken • 1 cup frozen peas (no need to defrost) • 1 egg





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• 1 large egg • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage • 2 cloves garlic, minced • ¾ lb 85 or 90% lean ground beef • ½ lb sweet or hot Italian sausage, removed from the casings • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano • 1/3 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs • ¼ teaspoon salt FOR THE SOUP:

• 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 medium yellow onion, diced • 2 large carrots, diced • 2 stalks celery, diced • 6 cups high-quality chicken broth (do not use low-sodium) • 2 cups high-quality beef broth (do not use low-sodium) • 2 cups water • ½ cup dry white wine (optional) • 1 bay leaf • ½ tsp salt • ¼ tsp white pepper (okay to use black pepper)

• 1 cup small pasta such as dittalini • 4 oz fresh spinach, stems trimmed and roughly chopped (once prepped, you should have about 3 packed cups) • Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set an oven-proof roasting rack over top. Spray the rack generously with nonstick cooking spray. 2. In a large bowl, beat the egg with the chives, sage and garlic. Add the remaining meatball ingredients and mash with your hands until evenly combined. 3. Roll the mixture into tablespoon-size balls (about 1-inch in diameter) and place on the prepared rack. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside. 4. Meanwhile, start the soup. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, and cel-

5. 6.



ery and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken broth, beef broth, water, wine, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil until the pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes (or according to package directions). Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Reduce the heat to low and add the spinach and meatballs. Simmer for a few minutes, until the spinach is wilted and the meatballs are warmed through. Ladle into bowls and serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be frozen for up to 3 months but wait until you reheat the soup to add the pasta. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until simmering, add the pasta, and cook until the pasta is tender.



INGREDIENTS • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided • 4 oz diced pancetta (or bacon) • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin (see note) • Salt • Freshly ground black pepper • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped • ¼ cup Cognac • 2-½ cups red wine, preferably Burgundy or Pinot Noir • 2-½ cups chicken broth • 1-½ tbsp tomato paste • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar


• 1-½ tsp sugar • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried) • 1 bay leaf • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks on the bias • 8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large (5-qt) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. 2. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the pan-

cetta is crispy, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan. 3. Season the chicken all over with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and brown half of the chicken in a single layer, skin side down, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes (brown on the skin side only). Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat. CONTINUES ON 46 


Photos on this page by Johnny Miller.


4. Return the pot to the stove and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and just starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. 5. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. 6. Add the Cognac and cook, stirring to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until the Cognac has evaporated. 7. Add the wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes. 8. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate back to the pot, along with the carrots. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until the chicken and carrots are cooked through. 9. While the chicken cooks, heat the


remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside. 10. Also while the chicken cooks: In a small bowl, mash the softened butter and flour to make a smooth paste. Set aside. 11. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. 12. Increase the heat in the Dutch oven/pot to medium and stir in three-quarters of the flour and butter paste. Gently boil until the sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes; add the remaining paste if you’d like the sauce a little thicker. Fish out and discard the bay leaf. 13. Using a fork and knife, pull the skin Visit us online at 55pluslifemag.com for more, including Jennifer Segal’s recipe for Mac and Cheese.

off of the chicken and discard. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. 14. Right before serving, stir in the browned mushrooms and pancetta. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, then serve. Make-Ahead Instructions: Let cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat over medium-low heat on the stovetop before serving. (For best results, store the sautéed mushrooms and crispy pancetta in separate containers in the refrigerator and add before serving.) Freezer-Friendly Instructions: This can be frozen for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot. NOTE: Sometimes chicken thighs have excess skin and/or fat. Before cooking, using kitchen shears, trim any skin that extends farther than the edges of the chicken thigh, and snip off any excess fat.

Illustration: Computer icon by srip from flaticon.com. Photo: iStockphoto.com/Radu Dumitrescu.


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Adjacent to the Village of Round Lake, Griffin’s Ridge is designed for families to enjoy time outdoors with sidewalks & street lamps. Its direct access to the Zim Smith Trail and close proximity to beautiful Round Lake (just a short walk) make it the perfect choice for families and outdoor enthusiasts. Adjacent

to the Village of Round Lake

Tucked within a popular, well-established neighborhood, Alexandria offers its owners the benefits of new construction as well as the comfort of being a part of an existing community. Plus this great location has easy access to great shopping, dining and the Northway. 1/2 acre+ wooded lots

Direct access to the Zim Smith Trail

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Shenendehowa Schools

Variety of 1st floor Master & Ranch floor plans

Variety of 1st floor Master & Ranch floor plans

Pricing starts in the high $400’s

Pricing starts in the mid $400’s

Stop by our model home in Griffin’s Ridge to learn more 50 Village Circle North Round Lake, NY 12151 Open Daily 12pm - 5pm, Tuesdays 10am – 2pm, Closed Mondays or contact us for an appointment Contact: Spencer Lewis 518-410-4158 | spencer@belmontebuilders.com

To learn more about Belmonte Builders, visit: www.BelmonteBuilders.com

In neighborhoods with a Homeowner's Association, Homeowners will be subject to all HOA covenants and design guidelines and will be required to pay HOA dues. For complete details see your sales representative.


Let’s Go

Clubbing Choosing a wine club that can work for you


nline wine clubs offer a big assist when it comes to stocking up on a range of exciting wines, branching out from what you might be familiar with or getting bottles from vineyards that could be hard to find at your local shop. Getting a bargain from bulk buying is an added bonus. But picking a wine club—like selecting a bottle to go with dinner or to pop open at a party—involves a little thought and an understanding of one’s tastes and palate predilections. Some of us are good at shopping, at venturing into the marketplace and finding what we want. Others can find the prospect daunting: the hubbub of commerce, the expertise, the confrontations with the limitations of our own knowledge, the quiet fear of being duped. Wine clubs allow consumers the luxury of letting experts do some of the work for us. If you enjoy curated playlists on streaming music services—isn’t it nice to have recommendations from Barack Obama?—then you can think of a wine club as something similar. And, given the fact that many of us are still scaling back some of our closed-space retail outings in the face of ongoing concerns about COVID-19, a wine club is another way to reduce exposure. The question is which wine club will fit your needs. There are clubs devoted to the wines of particular states, countries, varietals and regions. If all you want is Cabernet, there’s a club for that.


Wine clubs can be as collaborative or as hands-off as you wish, depending whether you want to keep honing your tastes and reporting back to the club with your evolving palate sensibilities or simply forget about it, knowing that someone else is making wise wine decisions on your behalf. Some clubs begin with a series of questions about what food and drink you like, extrapolating some tendencies that might apply to wine. Are you a strong coffee person, or a green tea drinker? Do you prefer smoky barbecue or light baked fish? If you’re crazy about organic and natural wines, there are sommelier-led clubs that will help you delve deeper into that world. One of the first players in the wine-club game is the Wine of the Month Club, which started in the 1970s and prides itself on screening the wines, providing reading material and lots of information about the wines they send out to members each month. Wines from all over the world are featured. The fee is never more than $24.96 a month for two bottles (plus shipping and handling, which varies depending on the state). Say you’ve become interested in natural wines. Natural Wine Company, which specializes in small-operation vineyards, might be a good fit. You can choose from having six or 12 bottles delivered per month, and you can opt for all reds, all whites, or a mix. The six-bottle level costs $200 a month, while the twelve-bottle tier is $400 a month. Learn about lesser-known varietals and artisanal techniques through this club.

Photo: iStockphoto.com/Andrey Elkin.


If you’re more of the data-driven type and you don’t have a ton of opinions about Pouilly-Fume, a service like Bright Cellars might be the right approach. You’ll be asked about what types of chocolate, tea, cocktails and fruit juices you like. From there, a number-crunching algorithm will extrapolate flavor preferences and extend them into the world of wine. You’ll get four bottles of wine a month, based on your quiz, and then you’ll be asked to rate them, and your responses will shape the bottles you will receive in the future. The four-bottle monthly fee, with shipping and tax, comes to about $95. If your tastes in wine tend to be more geographically focused, there are clubs out there that zero in on a country or region, offering a selection from your go-to zone each month. For instance, Cúrate is a club that specializes in Spanish wines. And if you’ve ever been to Spain or spent much time poking around the Spanish section of your local wine shop, you know that you could devote decades to fully exploring the depth and subtlety of the wines of Spain. Cúrate will send a monthly shipment of three bottles of Spanish wines; the fee will range between $80 and $100 per month (including shipping), based on the wines and applicable taxes. There are wine clubs devoted to the wines of other countries, too. South African Wine Club, for instance, focuses on the wines of South Africa, while Vida touts the wines of Argentina. If casting your wine-sipping net over the whole world, or even over a single country, is too wide of a sample for you, many individual wineries offer club-type subscriptions, where consumers can get first dibs on limited-edition bottles, new releases and other offers. These vineyard-based clubs are usually quarterly deliveries. Oregon’s Adelsheim Vineyard offers something along those lines, with other benefits including access to tasting events and more. It’s worth remembering that wine clubs didn’t invent the wheel here. They do something that many local wine shops have been doing all along: listening to customers and helping the consumer find wines that are a good match for their taste buds and pocketbook. And in the spirit of staying independent and local, many small neighborhood wine shops offer something similar. Wine shops around the country offer similar deals, with different areas of expertise. n

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RESOURCES • Wine of the Month Club | wineofthemonthclub.com • Natural Wine Company | naturalwine.com/wineclub • Bright Cellars | brightcellars.com • Cúrate Spanish Wine Club | shop.curatewineclub.com • South African Wine Club | southafricanwineclub.com • Vida Wines Wine Club | vida.wine/wine-club • Club Adelsheim | adelsheim.com/wine-club • Sonoma Wine Shop | sonomawineshop.com/club

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Let’s Get


How a personal trainer can help you meet your fitness goals

Photo: iStockphoto.com/Mladen Zivkovic.



ome of us can get and stay fit on our own; others need a little help. The latter is where personal trainers come in. Having a personal trainer or a coach can help a person meet fitness goals faster, safer and more effectively, gain better results or simply learn to enjoy exercise more than they thought possible. “People should hire a personal trainer in the same way they hire a roofer, mechanic, lawyer or carpenter,” says personal trainer Seth Thomas. “We hire experts to help us accomplish things we otherwise could not do on our own or maybe things that we could possibly do but we would be less efficient in regards to things like time, money and safety.” A personal trainer since 2011 and owner of Albany Movement & Fitness, Thomas says he and other trainers at his gym “help smart people who have a general idea of what they should be doing when it comes to fitness and nutrition but doing it consistently is something they struggle with. We ex-

pect people to vote with their dollars for the things they care about and what can be more important than taking care of our bodies and our minds?” Anthony Demetriou, who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in exercise science and is a Ph.D. candidate in exercise science, says a personal trainer can help an individual achieve their health and fitness goals. “At Train HD (in Albany, which he co-owns) all of our clients start with an initial consultation and assessment. In this process, we can look at health history, exercise history, muscular strength, endurance, range of motion, cardiovascular health, and biometric measurements such as fat percentage and weight.” From information gathered in this preliminary meeting, a fitness and nutrition program is tailored to support the goals the individual is trying to achieve. “We look at personal training as an investment,” says Demetriou. “Anytime you can put money into your health WINTER 2022 | 55PLUSLIFEMAG.COM 51


with him for 14 years. “Many individuals who started peras preventative care it is worth the money. We offer different sonal training with us transition to our group training. The options, from personal one-on-one training to small group group is a great way to stay motivated, build relationships training of two to four people, to larger group training of up with others in the gym, and push yourto 10 individuals.” This “tiered” system makes self harder than most ever thought they training much more affordable. “If personal could.” training is too expensive for your budget, then Thomas has seen clients “come and go,” sharing the cost in a group may be a better adding, “I have had people utilize our serprogram for you. We try to eliminate most of just make people vices for 10 years and some who sign up the barriers when it comes to cost.” sweaty and send never show up. People train to get ready Thomas believes the “most important thing for weddings, a cruise, to prepare for famthat we provide our members” is a rationale them on their way.” ily they haven’t seen in years, to stave off for what they are doing. “We do not just make — S ­ eth Thomas, Albany an illness a close family member was dipeople sweaty and send them on their way. Movement & Fitness agnosed with, to be more attractive and We use the Functional Movement Screen so to build confidence after a break-up, to we can make the most accurate exercise recreduce stress, anxiety or depression. The list goes on.” ommendations.” Thomas says that his group training sessions cost about Using results from the screen, he and other trainers can $20 each and clients usually attend class two to three days a help someone new to fitness as well as someone who has week. Personal training is not expensive as long as the trainexperience in the gym. “We practice skills to get exercise er is providing value, he notes. benefits. We avoid training through pain. We believe people “Not all personal trainers are created equal,” he says. “I need to be as strong as they need to be to do the things they have four college degrees related to fitness and countless cerwant to do. We cannot obtain results randomly. A successful tifications in a field where no credential is required to pracprogram is strategic and written out. We also provide profestice. Anyone can open a personal training gym and I would sional guidance, support and accountability.” have to compete with them, but most gyms like that compete Most of the clients at Train HD have been working there on price only and end up possibly hurting people.” n for over six years, says Demetriou, with some having been

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Your Body

Tips for staying healthy and active this winter BY BENITA ZAHN


t’s that time of year when we all want to hunker down, chow down on carb-laden feel-good foods and skip the workout. But that would not be in our best interest. A poll a few years back published in The Daily Mail (okay, not scientific) found women, on average, gain 4.5 pounds during the winter months. We all know how tough it is to drop “the last 5 pounds” so it’s easy to see how the winter weight gain adds up. The key is prevention. Here’s a three-step winterizing plan: bolster, move, cover.

boost helps bolster your immune system and that’s something we can all embrace. One more thing: drink up. Dehydration can occur during winter. Besides water, a cup of tea or cocoa is both warming and provides a dose of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important because they help fight the effects of everyday living, which causes free radicals to form. Free radicals can damage our body. Antioxidants fight the free radicals.

Photo by Kris Qua Photography.

BOLSTER. Start by limiting your “empty” carb

MOVE. The next step in winterizing our bodies is

making a plan for action on the days your bed consumption, including those sweets that are looks especially appealing. Prep your workout “Oh, the weather so tempting. Remember, sugar consumption clothes the night before. Those sneakers are outside is frightful, triggers sugar consumption so you’re best not like a friend waiting for you to get walking or but the fire is so delightful. to start. get to the gym. Sign up for a virtual workout Since we’ve no place Instead stock your kitchen with healthier on the days you absolutely don’t want to vento go, let it snow…” snacks. Nuts can fit that bill. At ¼ cup they deture out. Keep in mind that getting outside and liver approximately 150 calories and a dose of omemaximizing the reduced daylight helps ward off ga-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. While fruit choices the winter blues, so consider taking up a winter sport. are not as abundant during the winter, consider frozen products If skiing or skating aren’t in your wheelhouse, try snowincluding berries. Don’t limit yourself to old standbys when you shoeing. It’s great fun, social and low impact. You can rent purchase produce. For example, consider the variety of squash snowshoes at many outdoor venues to give it a try. available, each with a unique flavor and texture. Activity not only helps keep our waistlines in check; it One of my favorite snacks is a roasted golden beet. Beets are lifts our mood. If you do find yourself struggling emotionally high in manganese, Vitamin C, potassium, beta carotene and because of the limited daylight you may be suffering from fiber. Green leafy vegetables should also be on your shopping Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Talk with your doctor list for their nutritional value. Like beets they’re low in calo- about light therapy. ries and provide antioxidants, as well as Vitamins A and C. You can braise, sauté, steam, roast, grill and blend them into COVER. The final step in personal winterizing is taking a smoothie. care of our skin. Genn Shaughnessy, the Backstage Stylist, I recently spoke with Jill Edwards, director of education for reminds us to limit our skin’s exposure to the elements. She the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, who tout- suggests putting on hand cream before donning gloves or ed the value of whipping up a nutritional drink. You can blend mittens, but taking care not to go outside with wet hands to an array of health-boosting fruits and vegetables for a satisfying avoid chapping. When moisturizing your face, don’t forget snack or meal that’s easy to make and take. Drinks are an easy the sunscreen. Sunlight reflecting off the snow can burn your way to add these foods to your diet. Edwards also encourages us skin. And go for fragrance-free products. As Shaughnessy to go vegan at least once a week. There are myriad reasons to try notes, fragrances can irritate sensitive skin. n this including an energy boost. Plant-based foods are easier for your body to digest. Additionally, you’ll cut added sugar and fat, BENITA ZAHN is a certified health and wellness coach working in both of which can slow you down. And bottom line, the nutrient the Capital Region. Visit benitahealthcoach.com. WINTER 2022 | 55PLUSLIFEMAG.COM 53



Your Wardrobe Tips for offloading those clothes you never wear BY CARI SCRIBNER


o ahead, throw the doors of your closet open and let in some light. We dare you. While you’re at it, pull out your dresser drawers and see what’s lurking in the bottom of the sock pile. If you discover any of the following, it’s time to purge: • Jeans you wore in college. • That little black dress in a size you haven’t been able to wear in years. • The business suit you haven’t worn since you retired or started working at home. • Heels that hurt your feet. • Wool sweaters that make you itch. Chances are good you will find some surprises that you forgot you even own. But it’s well worth the effort to spend an afternoon—or two—to sort and find a new home for unused wardrobe items. For starters, it’s good for the psyche. “Clutter is stressful,” says Morgan Luke, a professional organizer who owns Sorting for Serenity, LLC, based in Latham. “Think of it as things taking up too much space in your life.” Luke recommends the rule of “one in, one out” in which you re-home one item for every item you add to your wardrobe.


While you’re knee-deep in sorting, keep in mind that making a palette wardrobe can go a long way to simplifying. “Mix and match neutrals like black and beige,” Luke says. “When you accessorize with jewelry or a belt, you will look and feel great. If you work outside the home, create a work uniform with these staple items.” In today’s world of living simply, it’s time to embrace minimalism. “Yes, we do need clothes, but not in excess,” says Debreen Oliva of Saratoga Springs, who runs a business called Do Organize. “People have rationalizations about why they keep something, but you have to break the cycle.” Oliva, who says she likes fashion as much as anyone, encourages people to try things on and look in the mirror. “Keep only what makes you feel fabulous,” Oliva says. “That includes items you’re saving for special occasions. If you’re not wearing it, donate it to someone who will." If you’re vacillating between keeping or donating, Brandon Dewyea, an apparel stylist and owner of Moxie in Saratoga Springs, suggests considering offloading these specific items that aren’t on the fashion must-have list any longer. They include bell sleeve tops, anything cropped and the “cold shoulder” look that was popular a few summers ago. Women aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a ward-

robe purge. Men should weed out tattered polo Ts, pleated pants, wool sweaters with pilling, and shoes that have seen better days. “Of course, anything that’s ill-fitting has to go,” says Dewyea. Another category of clothing to recycle are wardrobe pieces you purchased impulsively that seemed right at the time but haven’t been off the hanger since. “If it’s something you truly love and Keep only value, it’s worth keeping,” says Dewyea. “But trends come and what makes go, so it’s best not to buy into you feel them.” There are options for recyfabulous.” cling the items that are gently — ­Debreen Oliva used. Some people will put in the Do Organize, time to list everything from jackSaratoga Springs ets to purses on sites like Poshmark, where clothing with designer labels sell like hotcakes. It can be time-consuming to post your items, respond to buyers and mail out the items, and the profits can be less than $20, but some people enjoy it as a fun hobby. If you choose to donate, your church may have a thrift shop. Area Salvation Army and City Mission stores are always looking for clothes in season. Some thrift stores have limited hours during which they take donations, so it’s best to call ahead and arrange a time. Also consider domestic violence or homeless shelters that need everything from outerwear to shoes. Another idea is turn the chore into something fun by organizing a clothing swap with your friends. Ultimately, minimizing is about coming to grips with who you are today, and whether your wardrobe reflects this. “You need to know when to let go,” Luke says. “When you minimize, you simplify your life.” n

Moving? Estate Clearing


Photo: iStockphoto.com/Jakovo.

For men: • Polo shirts that aren’t faded or frayed at the seams. • Pleated pants. Make sure they aren’t too long! This is a common mistake. They should graze your shoes, not cover them. • Leather or suede belts. • Light sweaters in neutrals like navy or gray that work in multiple seasons. • A rich wool, textured sports jacket.



Sheilah and her team specialize in... • Move In + Move Out Management • Downsizing & Decluttering • Compassionate Estate Clearing • Renovation + Repair Management Call today for a free 30-minute consultation to explore your needs and goals.

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It’s not just business; it is personal! We provide counsel without judgment in a socially responsible and safe manner.

CLASSICS YOU SHOULD KEEP IN THE CLOSET For women: • A crisp white button-down blouse. • Any style jean jacket. • Palazzo pants in a good-quality fabric. These elongate your legs. • A duster. This is a longer cardigan that falls to mid-calf.


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The Light in our Eyes Savvy lighting strategies for aging eyes BY BRIANNA SNYDER

Photo courtesy Wolberg Electrical Supply.


s our age increases, so does the brightness of our screens—and the need for the right lighting in all of our spaces. The good news is that installing the right lighting isn’t just a favor you do for your vision. It also can be an aesthetic upgrade to your environment. You’ll be surprised to learn how much more comfortable you feel when the light is just right. And cozy is a look. “Our pupils get smaller with age, so less light enters our eyes,” says Dr. Edward Wladis, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Albany Medical College and chief of service for Ophthalmology at Albany Medical Center Hospital. “Changes on the surface of the cornea and the development of cataracts can scatter light, so proper vision can be challenging.” Wladis says the key to good lighting is just … lots of lighting. Bright—with higher lumen counts—and positioned strategically near where you read or craft or do your sudoku. Mickey LaPoint, general manager of Showroom Operations at Wolberg Electrical Supply, agrees. He and his colleague Wendy O’Hearn have been flexing their lighting expertise since 1977, so they know a thing or two about illumination. “The trick is you want more blue light during the day, and warmer light in the evening,” LaPoint says. And late at night, night lights are a very good idea, according to Wladis. Here’s what they recommend. INCREASE LIGHT LEVELS

Add additional light fixtures, task lighting or higher lumen bulbs—up to 1,100 or 1,600 lumens. (Think of lumens as the new watts.) Use a combination of floor and table lights. Adjustable task lighting—especially portable lighting—is also especially handy and good for your eyes. Think under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen over your prep surfaces. You’re striving for comfort, in addition to maximum visibility. Avoid a ceiling light or lighting behind you. It casts shadows and can inhibit visibility.


If you have dark wallpaper or dark paint on the walls, consider changing to a lighter color. Bright lights on dark backgrounds cause glare, which can strain the eyes. Naked bulbs are also not good for your eyes, so avoid the Edison bulb trend and invest in warm lampshades to diffuse your light. MAKE YOUR LIGHTING UNIFORM

Be strategic about where you place your lamps and lights so that you’re getting good coverage in every space of a room. Smart-home features offer automation opportunities to minimize the need for moving from lamp to lamp to turn on and off your light. Turning a light switch is a small task but it’s just inconvenient enough to encourage you to only turn on a light that you need when you need it. Plus, it can be uncomfortable for arthritic hands. Invest in smart plugs and devices that make it easy to turn on and off your lighting with one switch or a command to Alexa. USE GOOD COLOR RENDERING

“Look for bulbs and fixtures with a high CRI value,” says O’Hearn. CRI stands for “color rendering index.” Many LED lights now have a CRI value of at least 90, she says. “The higher the number the better you’ll be able to discern colors, which is great for matching clothes and socks.” Wladis emphasizes the need for lighting that aligns with the daylight. “It’s very important to remember the impact of light on our sleep-wake cycles (Circadian rhythm),” he says. That’s why nightlights are important, but reducing bright lights in the bedroom is also key to ensuring sound sleep and happy eyes. n WINTER 2022 | 55PLUSLIFEMAG.COM 57

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The Heart of Senior Living in Saratoga When it’s time to make a transition, we provide a carefree lifestyle in a friendly community that offers independent and assisted living apartments.

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A non-profit organization 131 Lawrence Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 518.587.3600 | thewesleycommunity.org

“A hands-on approach to achieve your goals” Located on a peaceful 30-acre property, our 120-bed rehabilitation and skilled nursing center is the ideal destination for patients to recover from a hospital stay and regain their strength. Offering a dedicated subacute care unit, a spacious and modern rehab gym and a wonderful outpatient therapy program, our individualized rehab approach encompasses: · physical, occupational and speech therapy · physiatry · sports medicine rehabilitation · joint replacement therapy · stroke management & recovery · 24/7 skilled nursing care · physician services

· comprehensive wound care · pain management · IV certified program · nutritional/diabetic management · podiatry, pharmacy & dental · comprehensive discharge planning · wellness programs

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Planning Ahead

Preplanning can help your family during challenging times

Photo: iStockphoto.com/kate_sept2004.



few weeks after my sister’s death, I searched her home looking for a white binder containing our mom’s legal documents. The closing on our childhood home was less than a week away. Our elderly mom had dementia and was living in assisted living, so we were selling her house. My sister had our mom’s power of attorney but upon her death, the role fell to me. I needed the original legal documents to sign the closing papers. My brother-in-law had no idea where my sister kept important papers. A math whiz, she handled the family finances. Even in my grief, I resented her for not giving me at least basic instructions regarding her wishes and our mom’s care. Of course, I felt guilty for feeling that way. I had tried broaching the subject two and a half years earlier when she got her terminal breast cancer diagnosis. “You’re going to beat the odds; I know it. But just in case you aren’t feeling well temporarily, please just tell me where things are,” I said.

“That’s unnecessary,” she said. “You’re being negative.” Her family had to plan her funeral during the pandemic with no idea of her wishes other than having a closed casket. If our family had talked openly and regularly about dying, we could have avoided months of stress, second guessing and headaches. “We don’t know what the future will hold and whether we will get sick. It’s much better to have people in place who you trust who can step into these roles,” says Theresa Marangas, an estate planning lawyer with Meier Law Firm in Latham. “COVID was a great catalyst for learning about how to do things smarter, how to be more practical and not in denial.” It’s not just about planning your funeral and who gets a family heirloom. The pandemic has taught us that even young, healthy people can get sick and die. “Without a will, if somebody passes away, New York state law dictates who receives your estate,” Marangas says. At the point someone is old enough to make their own WINTER 2022 | 55PLUSLIFEMAG.COM 59



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subject slowly over time. Let your loved one know you want their wishes to be known and you’re asking out of respect. What do you need? You don’t have to be wealthy or old to complete a living will, a will, a power of attorney and a health care proxy form, Marangas says. A client whose mother had fallen and sustained a head injury contacted Marangas because her mother had no living will or health care proxy. The adult daughter had to decide on her own when to remove life support. And because the woman died without a will, Meier spent more time figuring out the mother’s finances than if she had had an estate plan in place. “If you care about your loved ones and your assets, legacy planning is a much better gift to give them,” Marangas says. A health care proxy is a simple document that names someone, along with a successor, who can make health decisions for you if you are unable to do so. The health care proxy status allows clinical staff to talk to the patient’s designated representative. If someone is married, their spouse doesn’t automatically become their health care proxy under New York state law, Marangas says. When you name someone as your health care proxy, let them know so they’re ready to step in if needed, House adds. The power of attorney allows your designee to manage your finances and make legal decisions on your behalf. Health insurance covers advanced care planning, so people

Photo: iStockphoto.com/shapecharge.

decisions, they should start writing down their wishes in what’s called “advanced care planning,” says licensed clinical social worker Deborah House, who oversees the social work system for St. Peter’s Health Partners. “Things can happen to anyone at any point in time, regardless of age,” House says. It’s easier emotionally to plan when everyone is healthy and there’s no serious diagnosis, she says. “We need to make it part of every family’s conversation at the dinner table. It doesn’t have to have stigma. It doesn’t have to have emotion.” She recommends two nonprofit websites to get started: The Conversation Project (theconversationproject.org) and the Serious Illness Conversation Guide (instituteforhumancaring.org). Advanced care planning is something adults do to save their loved ones from having to guess their wishes. After someone puts their wishes in place, they should update it periodically as conditions change, such as the birth of a grandchild, House says. These are difficult topics for everyone, House says. The family matriarch doesn’t want to lose her place. Others who are sick may not want to burden their loved ones. This is why preplanning is so helpful. “When you preplan, your emotional response decreases and the stigma attached to those conversations decreases,” House says. If someone is facing a terminal illness and you haven’t had this conversation, she suggests broaching the


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writing a living will can discuss their options with their family physicians—and understand what’s meant by terms such as “extraordinary means” and “life support,” House says. Advanced care planning should be a continuous conversation over the course of one’s lifetime, where people share their wishes for whether they want to be kept alive by a machine and for how long, as well as their funeral wishes and distribution of their belongings and assets. Leave sensitive information such as bank account numbers, passwords to online accounts and social media, phone and computer login information, important documents, the safe deposit box key or combination to a safe with your attorney or partner, and leave behind instructions on how to reach your lawyer. “With a little bit of education and guidance from the right professional, you can have things in place for your loved one,” Marangas says. “It doesn’t take a lot to put bricks in place for a solid foundation. It’s a little bit of time and a little bit of money. You go on with your life, because we don’t know what the world is going to bring.” n

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Retirement Heaven or Hell, Which Will You Choose? By Mike Drak with Susan Williams and Rob Morrison, Milner & Associates, Inc.


Thoughts Strategies to create the retirement of your dreams


relationships, foster good health, achieve financial indepennce upon a time people turned 65, got the gold dence, reignite your sense of adventure, tap into your spirituwatch or maybe a card and/or party, and retired to ality, find your tribes, make the most of your time, adopt the their porch and grandchildren. End of story. right attitude, and discover your purpose. Now retirement can be a bit more confusing. The age to Of course theory only takes anyone so far. It’s action that’s retire is a moving target, as is the best way to spend your regoing to take an idea into something tirement. Thanks to the term Second life-changing. To that end, Drak ends Acts, retiring has the implication that each chapter asking readers to give you should be doing something usehonest assessments of where they are ful or meaning ful. It can mean that a with a particular principle. He also once-simple step is suddenly compliincludes questions to help readers cated and fraught with confusion. strategize about how best to fully inMike Drak was forced into retirecorporate a particular principle into ment by being laid off. It could have their lives. been easy to slip into what he calls ReIn the chapter on nurturing strong tirement Hell, wasting days watching relationships, for instance, Drak asks TV and feeling sorry for himself. And, readers to consider the answers to indeed, he did do a bit of that. questions such as “Do you need more But eventually he realized that the friends?” and “Are some of your reonly way to create the retirement he lationships starting to slip away from wanted was to…create the retirement you?” He also asks readers to rate he wanted. His latest book, Retirecurrent relationships with their partment Heaven or Hell, Which Will You ner, their children and their friends on Choose?, is the result of his research Author Mike Drak a scale of 1-10. What, he asks, can you and lived experience. Consider it a start doing to shift any ratings that are not a 10? primer of sorts for helping you decide how you want to live Since part of retirement includes crafting a new—or at the next chapter. least revised—identity post job/career, Drak includes lots Drak divides retirement into nine principles that he says of suggestions and strategies for what he calls “finding your can help you create the retirement you want: nurture strong


Photos: Book cover, courtesy Milner & Associates Inc.; author photo by Ishkhan Ghazarian.


This is your opportunity


More Happy!

to feel like a

purpose.” “Choosing to think of retirement as your Victory Lap is a to rediscover second chance for you to find real joy, perhaps more than you ever had your passion in your working life,” he writes. “This is your opportunity to feel like a kid and do what again (remember, this is a beginning, not an ending)—to rediscover your excites you. passion and do what excites you.” — ­Mike Drak Drak walks readers through exercises designed to help them (re) discover their purpose, starting back at childhood—”What are your some of your favorite childhood memories?”—and ending with working years—”Was your career a good fit?” He asks readers to reexamine their values and decide which ones really matter, and then use these insights combined with the 9 principles to help them pick what they’d like to be doing in their retirement. While all this journaling is helpful, Drak realizes that having a clear-cut plan is absolutely necessary to realize a dream. To that end, he concludes his book with specific suggestions for setting objectives and achievable, measurable goals toward your vision of retirement heaven. “You have the power to change the trajectory of your retirement,” he writes. “You can live a boring, safe retirement, or you can make a truly remarkable one. The choice is yours. So, what are you waiting for?” n

kid again …


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“Bring ‘Em Back Alive” was the motto of the real Frank Buck, who collected exotic animals for zoos and circuses.

be open. e are all going about our lives with their daily routines, worries and joys. Some days are busier than others, bring more joys than others, but they all make up a chapter of our lives. As we go through our daily routines, we should try to be more open to opportunities to meet new people, have new experiences, further our careers or interests, and try to see things from a different perspective. I am always looking for a chance to strike up a conversation at the grocery store. I have had some amazing conversations with the butcher, the checkout person, or that random person in aisle 3. We both laugh, share a thought, and walk away reflecting on the chance encounter with a stranger. On one such occasion while Joe the Butcher and I were talking up a storm, he said, “I didn’t know you were Frank Buck!” At that moment he got my life’s story and the real Frank Buck’s as well. I can thank my grandfather; he gave me that nickname. Much like the real Frank Buck, I love being outside, I love to hunt, fish, travel and spend time with my dogs. I did not get to spend enough time with him, but what a storyteller he was. I guess it runs in the family. So there you have it, Frank Buck is Rod Michael. Or is it the other way around?


My wife and I love to go out to dinner and converse with our favorite waitress. We ask her how she is and exchange cooking and baking recipes. Many times, if not every time, we end up in a conversation about all kinds of things with the people sitting next to us. On one such occasion, I could not help but say something to a couple who was dining next to us. They were passing through town and just happened upon our favorite restaurant. The gentleman was having the same wine and entrée I was and the lady the same as my wife. As you can well imagine it didn’t take much for me to start up a conversation. In doing so we found that we had so much in common that we keep in touch to this day. The best part was to find out that we were all Vizsla owners. As we go about writing each chapter please bring the best of you to all you do. If you love someone, please tell them. Smile as you walk the aisles of the grocery store. Don’t be afraid to open new doors or the door for someone else. Your current chapter does not have to be the number one best seller, but it must be a great read for all the people you touch in your life. Make them feel that the time you spent together was truly one of life’s greatest treasures. And hey, you just might strike up a conversation with Frank Buck (aka Rod Michael). n

Photos: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.



Cowboy Beef & Black Bean Chili SERVES 8 Ingredients: 2 lbs. 1 Tbsp. 1 1/2 cups 2 Tbsp. 2 1 1/4 cup 1 Tbsp. 1 tsp. 1 tsp. 1/8 tsp. 1 (28 oz.) can 1 (14 1/2 oz.) can 1 (14 1/2 oz.) can 12 oz. 1/3 cup 2 (15 oz.) cans 2 medium 2 oz. 1 cup

Hannaford Ground Beef (95% lean) Vegetable oil Onions, chopped Garlic, minced Yellow bell peppers, chopped Jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped McCormick® Chili Powder McCormick® Ground Cumin McCormick® Ground Oregano McCormick® Thyme Leaves McCormick® Ground Cayenne Red Pepper Crushed tomatoes, undrained Chili diced tomatoes, undrained Low sodium beef broth Dark beer Tomato paste Low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained Ripe Avocados from Mexico, peeled and cut into chunks Cabot® Lite50 Sharp Cheddar, shredded Stonyfield® Organic 0% Fat Plain Greek Yogurt

Directions: 1. Brown ground beef in a large stockpot over medium heat (8 to 10 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef from stockpot and set aside. Safely pour off drippings. 2. Heat oil in same stockpot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and garlic; cook until onions are tender (3 to 5 minutes). Add bell peppers and jalapeño and cook until tender (4 to 5 minutes).

Try a healthier spin on an American classic. This two-star-earning hearty chili features lean ground beef, onions, bell peppers, black beans, lots of spices and a secret ingredient — dark beer. This satisfying, savory recipe makes enough for eight!

simply healthy

3. Return beef to stockpot. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and cayenne; cook and stir until toasted (2 to 3 minutes). 4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, broth, beer and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Uncover stockpot and continue simmering until thickened (30 to 40 minutes). 5. Stir in beans; cook until beans are heated through (5 to 10 minutes). Top with avocado, shredded cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

from your Hannaford Dietitians

We’re committed to supporting your health and wellness goals. Our team of registered dietitians offer free nutritional services online and in-store. Visit hannaford.com/dietitians to learn more.

Nutritional Information: Amount per serving: Calories 210; Total Fat 7 g; Saturated Fat 2 g; Sodium 85 mg; Carbohydrate 31 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugar 13 g; Protein 9 g

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