- February 1, 2018
Liz Kitchens is defying beige expectations and coloring outside the lines with the upcoming release of her first book, “Be Brave. Lose the Beige! Finding Your Sass After Sixty.”
The candid, tongue-in-cheek manifesto empowers women to take on their third act with confidence and sass, and is a must-have manual for “Lady Boomers” and others cresting toward retirement as they navigate what’s next.
Kitchens utilizes color as a metaphor for accessing life’s challenging issues.
While beige is reliable, practical, sensible, doesn’t put up a fuss, blends in and is safe, magenta is rich, dynamic, loud, sometimes garish, and not overlooked easily.
Although Kitchens says society has decidedly beige expectations when it comes to aging, she explains why magenta women have more fun.
“We get too caught up in rules,” she says. “I think breaking little fine print rules is empowering. We don’t have to look old and gray with our hair back in a bun and a cane … the way they depict us. If we think a little creatively and a little outside the box, it’s empowering and enriching and we can make this phase of our lives really meaningful.”
WRITING HER TRUTH
“Be Brave. Lose the Beige! Finding Your Sass After Sixty,” was first born from Kitchens’ blog in 2009.
On her blog, she began to share issues she believed “Lady Boomers” — the women of the “Baby Boomer” generation — were facing, such as Boomerang children coming back and empty nest syndrome.
The book started out as a memoir; the book is mostly composed of stories that came from blog posts. Kitchens says the blog posts are the kernels of the stories, and she couldn’t resist preaching on creativity, which is how the ideas developed into a book.
The main message of the book is women’s empowerment.
“All women do a thousand silent things,” Kitchens says. “I just wanted them to be a little braver and bolder and step out of some of society’s lines, especially that aging.”
Kitchens had looked for resources on aging and health issues, and they were either boring or not available. She says she knew she wanted to contribute her two senses with some humor and color.
Kitchens says finding meaning is just as important in the second part of one’s lives and she hopes the book gives tips and guidance to women
“Women have often been secondary characters,” she says. “It’s not a flaming feminist book or anything, but it’s about standing up for ourselves. We’ve lived under a lot of authorities: our dads, our husbands, our lawyers. And I want women to step outside some of those. It requires some creative thinking to be able to envision that for yourself and in order to think creatively.”
In the pages, Kitchens chronicles how creative thinking helped her cope with empty nest syndrome; navigate sex over 60; transition from being “outta-sight” to literally being out of sight, and so much more.
“Women provide that safe space for other people, but we don’t provide it for ourselves enough,” she says. “This is kind of a recognition for all these things women have done their whole lives, silently half the time.”
She says she has forbidden her children and former husband from reading the book because of how candid she is with her personal journey and stories.
One of her favorite stories she tells is about her three drink strategy.
“If I’m going to sit in a restaurant for a while, I will have a glass of water, iced tea and wine,” she says. “You get hydration, caffeination and intoxication, which I think is a perfect triangle. … Thinking outside of the box is important even in small things that mean something to you.”
The book includes “Be Brave. Lose the Beige!” maxims throughout, and the phrases are collected at the end in a manual that gives advice, such as parenting is not a popularity contest, hold your friends dear and don’t be a victim.
In addition, there is a creativity exercise at the end of each chapter.
“I wanted to make this really fun, colorful and kind of tell self-deprecating stories about myself and me as a mom, and how I enable my children and grandchildren and kind of the history of women my age,” Kitchens says. “Women really have a lot on their shoulders, so if this book can lighten the load even a little bit. … You don’t have to break big rules or laws, you just have to do little things to really exponentially improve your life and your thinking.”
The book also includes data and research on “Lady Boomers,” which Kitchens collected using her marketing research skills, a career she has pursued for 35 years.
Kitchens thought about self-publishing but was drawn to “She Writes Press,” an award-winning hybrid publisher for women authors. The organization was the first hybrid imprint to win 2019 Independent Publisher of the Year by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, which Kitchens says is what caught her eye.
Although she says the process was vigorous and frustrating at times, it made her a better writer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kitchens was born and raised in Orlando and attended the University of Central Florida, where she studied humanities.
Kitchens and her husband moved in 2013 to Baldwin Park in pursuit of a more diverse neighborhood, which she says the area more than fulfilled.
She is the founder of “What’s Next Boomer?” a website dedicated to helping boomers navigate retirement options, as well as of the blog, “Be Brave. Lose the Beige,” which focuses on issues facing women of the “Baby Boomer” generation.
In addition, Kitchens is a contributing writer for the online magazine, “Sixty and Me,” and has been published in various online and print publications.
Although she is not an artist, Kitchens shares that she enjoys creating special moments, and does so by teaching creativity classes to about 30 women at the Center for Health and Wellbeing in Winter Park.
She has always had a love for art, and ran a ceramics program for underserved students for 18 years prior to the pandemic. She says the project taught her the impact of creativity on lives that were fraught with tragedy and trouble.
Kitchens is the mother of three adult children, and the grandmother of three grandchildren.