Manhattan Beach, California

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler

What do you do when two of your Fierce 50 sisters come in town for the Grammy’s? Well, you go shopping, of course! Hitting the Splendid store in downtown Manhattan Beach is always a treat. The staff welcomed us with open arms. With their #spreadsoftness theme permeating their sunlit boutique, the three of us had an absolute ball.

Val Haller, the visionary behind the legendary music site Valslist, is a sassy bohemian from the North Shore of Chicago. She’s a baby booming music aficionado and a bit of a hippie at heart. She started Valslist over 7 years ago as a Music Concierge service. With people’s lives busier than ever, Val takes the time to create the perfect playlists with you in mind. As she likes to say, “I don’t hear music – I feel it viscerally with every fiber of my being!” Music truly is the spice of life and in Val’s world, it’s playing 24/7. Val has a reputation for finding music that’s predictably good, yet anything but predictable. Having attended her legendary house concerts back in her beautiful home in Winnetka, IL, they are definitely nights to remember. I haven’t stopped listening to Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers since the moment my toes started tapping in Val’s living room.

Val’s husband Mark surprised her with tickets to the Grammy’s and joined in the festivities…well, for a moment until Baja Sharkees and a refreshing cocktail caught his attention. We were waiting on the arrival of our friend, Annette Findling, another beauty from the suburbs of Chicago. Annette’s son had the honor of playing guitar at The Grammy’s and couldn’t resist joining in the fun. Annette is an investment advisor in Chicago with a passion for fashion that’s echoed in her blog, Rich Women Rock. Like Val, Annette is a lover of all things rock and roll, and weaves the music theme seamlessly into her blog posts which center around the financial world. She’s a creative who plays with fashion and uses fabulous metaphors to explain finance in fashion related language. She’s the perfect cocktail of finance, fashion and music. I can’t help but laugh at the synchronicity as we have a financial blogger, a fashion blogger and a music blogger while Annette rolls it all into one!

Los Angeles has had it’s fair share of rain over the past few months. I gave fair warning to my Chicago friends as the climate here was beginning to resemble my Chicago memories. It was pouring buckets on the afternoon that we met which made the Splendid Store the ideal backdrop for a photoshoot. Light, bright and friendly, it’s one of my favorite boutiques in the area overflowing with the most buttery soft cotton knits. They fully embrace the #spreadsoftness theme. Splendid is a brand designed to provide comfort in style. Tossing on a few looks, we giggled like young school girls and excitedly chatted away about The Fierce 50 Campaign.

As women at midlife, we believe that we are only just beginning. Val and Annette are two of the most beautiful and powerful women on the North Shore of Chicago. They embody “the new 50” in the absolute best possible light. When I spend time with these two, I can’t help but think that the new midlife has ushered in a whole new way of being. And, that way of being is one filled with a lot of moxie. These two beauties have it in spades and aren’t slowing down anytime soon. With flourishing careers and kick ass blogs, Val and Annette are two Fierce 50 knockouts you will want to follow…if you can keep up!

I couldn’t resist this fabulous vegan leather jacket from Zara that seemed to pick up on the rock and roll vibe. With it being all about The Grammy’s and The Fierce 50, why not pull out the stops with over the knee boots by Delman Shoes with a sassy mini skirt from Zara. Val and Annette tossed out the middle age rule book ages ago. Val has a distinctive style that’s perfect for her rock and roll lifestyle. With the hippest boots and fringe flowing, she’s reminiscent of the coolest chick at Woodstock. Her personality is truly magnetic with a twinkle in her eye at all times. She’s super fun and a bit mischievous too which is the best part. Having grown up in the 60’s (yes…all of us), there’s a bit of a 60’s girl that never leaves you. Annette is the queen of fashion back in Chicago. She surrounds herself with the coolest fashionistas in the city and is a member of the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum. I’ve always adored her unique sense of style, mixing vintage with the latest trends. Like Val, Annette is a fan of rock and roll and weaves this inspiration into her blog. This Fierce 50 fashionista doesn’t hold back rocking her Helmet Lang leather pants. Cheers Beauties!

One comment


Friends just make life the best—how fun you guys got to hang out together!!

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