Nancie, 63 – finds her niche!

One of my best friends from elementary school recently reached out to me because she wanted me to interview her sister, Nancie, for Celebrate The Gray.  This is the first phone interview I’ve done so I was nervous we wouldn’t have the same connection as a face to face meeting, but I quickly realized that was not the case!nancie-pipgras-portrait-crop

Age: At 63, Nancie says she is trying to “make peace with her middle” – maybe that should be the name of this blog!  She is not alone in this struggle, as I hear it almost everytime I interview someone.  So that lead to a discussion about fashion and the need for clothing to change as our bodies mature, not wanting to look dumpy or outlandish.  Nancie is looking for clothes that complement her shape and are made of good fabrics that can almost take care of themselves.  We both agreed that the fashion market is not paying attention to age demographics particularly to 60+ woman

Fashion: Nancie was raised by her grandmother, a force of nature, and her grandfather, the kindest soul on the face of the earth. Her grandmother instilled fashion value, buying quality vs quantity.

IMG_6663Attitude: Life has had it’s ups and downs for Nancie, battling cancer in 2006 only to have it return in 2007, today she is cancer free and healthy.  During her illness, she battled with identity and losing her hair. With the help of her long time stylist, Nancie shaved her head and embraced short and stylish hair!

Passion: The purchase of a house in Sacramento lead Nancie to her passion in life.  When trying to redesign the entry of the new house, Nanci started researching mosaics for two architectural niches.  Her search online lead Nanci to create Mosaic Art NOW (MAN). MAN celebrates contemporary mosaics by bringing the art form’s most accomplished practitioners and most innovative thinking together  (, Facebook and Instagram.

At 63, Nanci is living a life she never dreamed possible in Santa Rosa with her wonderful husband Frank and Wonder Doople (Standard Poodle) Cosmo. She is grateful for every day!

Photos: Jade Targel Photography, Julie Richey

Nonnie, can I borrow that?

How many 73 year-old women do you know that have a wardrobe that make her daughters, granddaughters, and daughter-in-law jealous?  I know one – Sandra O’Dell, my mother in-law and Nonnie to her grandkids.

Attitude: For the past 25 years, Sandra has impressed me with her sense of style!  She is not afraid to embrace the latest fashion trend and make it her own. She also knows how to shop and find bargains to prove it. Sandra has an incredible zest for life, be it hanging out with the family, dancing the night away or segwaying through the streets of Paris!

IMG_6606Fashion: After 21 years of dressing in business suits for her management position at Bank of America, Sandra had to reinvent herself.  She figured after uniforms in high school and business suits at work, she is making up for lost time. Sandra embraces COLOR and isn’t afraid to show her fabulous figure.  She loves leggings and longer tops, lots of color and a bit of trend in most of her looks.


Age: At 73, Sandra says staying young is easy with an 8 year old grand daughter, working part time at Brighton, volunteering at a local hospital and museum and hanging with friends that range in age from 22-70.  She keeps a close watch on her health by walking most days, doing pilates and eating well. When she isn’t busy at home or visiting her every expanding family (3 children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren), Sandra is traveling.  Next trip – Spain this fall.

One of Sandra’s granddaughters Courtney (age 27) says she would totally borrow her Nonnie’s clothes!

My mother, Marty Hussey!

I’ve known this incredible woman all my life.  You can say she’s my ultimate role model. She’s my amazing mother, Marty Hussey.  She is the reason I started Celebrate The Gray! She has always inspired me and I wanted to celebrate her.  We have always been close…okay maybe not during my teen years!

I recently asked her why she thinks she is doing so well at the young age of 85.  She said “stay active”!  She has always been active — skiing in her youth and playing tennis most of her adult life.  She has always looked younger than her age.  I believe it is due to her love of nature and working in her garden. She has beyond a green thumb, bringing back orchids on a yearly basis.  This is one trait that I did not inherit from her.

She recently took 13 of us on a magical family trip to Italy.  When hiking the stairways of Positano, I forgot that she is 85 because she easily kept up on our daily Italian outings. They say that when you meet a girl, look at her mother to figure out where she is headed. Well I guess you can say I’m headed to health and wellness.  She is the backbone of our family and has always put others needs before hers but I am happy to say that she has a built a full and active life outside her family.  She is an avid weekly mahjong player, frequents local music performances with friends, lunches and celebrates with her life long (friends since elementary school) “gabs” group, gardens and is planning a trip to NYC this April.

She is embracing style and recently showed me her newest purchases — a beautiful multicolor skirt, textured black top and chartreuse blazer!  When most women are shying away from color she is embracing it and looking fabulous!

I have always asked for her advice on everything from friendships, parenting and menopause (ugh) and over the last few years I have able to give some of that support back to her.  I feel that I am getting close to being half the woman she is and in 30 more years, I may get a little closer but probably not.