Rising 50 // Living in Style with Gratitude

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Debbi DiMaggio

Living in Style @50

with family and friends 🙂

Finding Inspiration in Daily Life

1       The # of times per month I rearrange the furniture.

2       The # of cups of coffee I drink each morning before anyone else gets up.

3       The # of times I apply Rodan + Fields Skincare per day.

5       The # of i’s in my daily life. My iPhone, iPad, iMac, my intuition, my ideas and my interesting clients.

6:25     The time I open my eyes every day, weekends included.

10         The # of minutes I run behind.

12         The amount of times i am in and out of my car each day, if not more

14,000+  The number of emails in my inbox ( you never know, you may need to refer back to one of them )

Q. Where do you find your inspiration?

  • Magazines, Swimming Pools, Travel, Architecture, Landscapes and Family.
  •  Inspiration is found in the way we dress to how we live.


  • Flipping through the pages of Elle Decor and T&C I find inspiration; and on my iPad, I love to pin with passion on Pinterest.

Q. What’s your favorite style?

  • My Fashion Inspiration – whether online or in a magazine – I either take it, over the top, or pair it down, to create my own look.
  • Favorite Casual Style: Tan riding pants, knee high brown riding boots by Stuart Weitzmann, my orange silk blouse by Vince, my daughters belt and if it’s cold I throw on my beige Burberry jacket. If it’s really chilly, I’ll throw on a scarf.  And if I’m in a hurry I’ll throw on my tan hat.
  • Formal Style: One of many, long, fitted dresses like this one by Bianca Nero, or any other long, black, fitted dress in my closet. My Donna Karan sheath has taken me to many holiday parties from the Debutante Winter Ball to the Cancer League Holly Ball. To create another look I add fur cuffs and change up my jewelry – bracelets or cuffs.  It’s amazing how easy you can change the look with accessories.
  • Summer Style: All white with a natural tan* plus layers of watches and bracelets.   ( *I oftentimes spray tan in the winter. )
  • Perfect Summer Staples: Just the Basics. My most recent summer find was discovered at Target; a long white tee and white shorts – of course I purchased 2 of each – one of those finds that happen when you aren’t even looking. The best kind.

 Q. Obsession(s)?

  • Always wanting to know where my kids are.  Yes, texting them constantly. It drives them, and even my husband crazy.

  • Sometimes they are just downstairs! And sometimes it feels as if I live in a frat house. But I would rather have them here than not!
  • Wanting to control everything!

Q. Your Secret Weapon?

  • My intuition. My intuition guides me in making decisions and assisting my clients to successfully buy and sell homes.

  • My Skincare Regimen by Rodan + Fields. Don’t start your skincare regimen later in life. It’s never too early to start taking care of your skin.  Ask me how you can have great skin too!

Q. Any routines, health, fitness, beauty?

  • My workouts vary from year to year. Sometimes it’s yoga, some years it is the treadmill or the Elliptical, but this year I thought I needed to push it a bit harder so I work out with Dave at Golden State Fitness once a week. I started out twice a week, but summer and travel got in the way. I am addicted. If it weren’t so costly I would train everyday!

  • As for my beauty routine, well, there is no set routine as I dislike sitting. As for nails and toes, I go to the same place since we have a Highland Partners office in the Montclair Village, so I always have a parking space, and they are never overly busy. I do make an appointment, and fortunately I get right in. I only do Buff Nails, no color, and a French Pedi. Simple and clean.

  • Hair – I try to keep it short, but never make a standing appointment. Devon is my hero!  She always give me such a great cut; it even grows out looking good.

  • Face, Neck and Chest — Rodan + Fields — ReDefine — yes, their anti-aging regimen, REDEFINE. I wash 2 X per day, but lather creams and serums 3 X per day. I don’t think one can ever overdue facial creams and moisturizers.

  • Hands – I didn’t think it was possible to change the appearance of my hands, but I have. R + D hand treatment is truly a miracle! Don’t skip your hand treatment, hands give away our age!!

Q. Most antagonizing word?

  • My husband cringes when I say the word “ideas” or if the phrase begins with “I have an idea”.  When I use those words it usually costs money or a lot of my time.

Q. In your hectic, multifaceted business you must get overwhelmed at times. What do you do when you get frustrated or overwhelmed?

  • I give it up to a higher power and try to release it, realizing and admitting the situation is out of my control. That usually happens after I’ve called my Feng Shui Guru, Alexis Summerfield.

Q. Any new discoveries?

  • I recently discovered Fast Company Magazine, I love it. Every issue is filled with information on what’s happening in business and in tech I can’t take it in fast enough. No pun intended!

Q. Favorite or latest book?

  • The Slight Edge. It’s taught me to just bite off a little bit every day and it will all add up. Like reading just one chapter or a few pages a day. Or working out just 30 minutes a day or cutting out a few bad things from your diet and adding in one or two new healthier alternatives. The idea is not to get overwhelmed but commit to doing a little everyday.

Q. Favorite Foods?

  • Salmon, roasted potatoes and salad. I can eat the same thing everyday. I’m not a foodie, but I love going to restaurants for the decor and ambiance. Must be lively and interesting, as I am not interested in “dining” at restaurants where they offer multiple courses. I can’t sit for that long!

 Q. What are you Passionate about? What Drives You?

  • I love to teach and help others with their own success and/or goals. Whether mentoring one of our real estate agents or helping our clients buy or sell a home. What we do is so personal, I think it would be difficult to be in real estate if you weren’t a passionate person.

Q. What are your favorite sayings?

  • I have many inspirational quotes and sayings I love.
  • Check out my favorites on Pinterest
  • But my other all time favorite is… You are now free to move about the country.  (I love to travel!! and Move!) My husband says I am a shark….I have to keep moving our I will die. So True!

Q. Share 3 Fun Facts about Yourself?

  • 100% Sicilian, Cousins with Joe DiMaggio and… Before Adam and I had met: It was in 1989, I was working as a mortgage broker, Adam as a Realtor for McGuire, we had not yet met. Adam had just seen me. He sent his friend in New York a marketing piece I had dropped in his mailbox, at his real estate office, with my bio and photo, Adam put it in an envelope and attached a Post-It Note saying, “ Meet my future wife.” We had not even yet met!

  • That was then:
  • This is now 🙂 22 years later!


What Is Your Habit Hardest to Break?

  • Incessantly trying to guide my kids attempting to steer them in a direction or towards a goal I think they should achieve. I am pretty much a control freak and micro manager!

Q. Something You Don’t Do?

  • Cook. I don’t cook but love to set a pretty table. Thankfully, my husband and daughter are great cooks!

Q. Scariest Time in Your Life?

  • When I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. I was newly married and our first child, Bianca, was just six months old.

Q. Favorite Flower(s)?

  • Tulips and Pink Peonies

Q. What’s your dress style?

  • Simple. I always start with the shoes. In the winter, black boots and in the summer, high wedges or sandals. For my outfit, I usually wear one or two colors, either black, gray or white and accent with beige or tan, unless it’s a summer, I might wear a bright summer dress.

Q. What Are Your Hobbies?

  • Philanthropy and Charity Work. Second to family and work I spend a majority of my free time attending meetings and planning charity events. I enjoy helping others, so being part of a group and spending time with people who share the same values and passion for helping others in need, whether less fortunate or ill is where I like to spend my free time. Not really a hobby like golf or tennis, I realize.

Writing, blogging and sharing words, stories and images with others is also something I enjoy doing.

Q. Biggest Ah Ha Moment?

  • The moment I looked in the mirror after just getting into San Remo, Italy. It was at that time I understood where I was from and who I looked like. 100% Italian, for sure! In my book, Contained Beauty, I have a page that says, Know Where You Come From… One of my friends told me, after she read the passage, that she has that same feeling when she is in Korea. It’s a strange but surreal Ah Ha moment when you realize, “these are my people.” We are all Americans, when here in the USA, but when we visit our place of heritage it’s pretty amazing to be in a place that we so closely identify. So uniquely ‘us’.

Our Roots: Isola Della Femmine, Sicilia 🙂 A few generations back.

Q. What Is Your Favorite Indulgence?

  • I’d have to say travel, as well as, in-home tanning and massages.

Q. We Know You Love to Travel, Any Rules? How Do You Choose A Hotel?

  • Whether for two days or ten days, I love the unexpected experience of travel. My #1 rule when I travel is that the hotel has to be nicer than my home or what is the point. Some say, when you travel you don’t spend much time in your room, but I am a nester, so when I get back after a long day, I want to come back to service, style, comfort and luxury. No exceptions.

Q.  It’s a big Birthday this Year. The Big 5-0. How will you be celebrating?

  • I’m not one for big parties, although I do love to plan big parties for my friends and family. I enjoyed planning and plotting my husband’s 50th and my mom’s 75th birthday, but my thing is travel, so my celebration will begin with a small family dinner at a friends home followed by a two week family vacation in Nantucket and the Hamptons. The first week shared with close friends.  (Although this entire 50th year has included quite a bit of travel – from Beverly Hills and Napa to Italy and Sicily. –Which I am very grateful !)

  • Cernobbio, Lake Como, Italy
  • Nantucket, MA
  • Nantucket 🙂


Q. What’s one simple thing you do to brighten your day?

  • Buy myself pink, purple or white tulips. If not in season, purple hydrangea’s, pink peonies or white roses.

Q. Last Book Read?

  • 10% Happier – How I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge…..by news anchor, Dan Harris

Q. Any Favorites to Recommend?

  • The Black Card Book is the book our credit card company sends. It’s full of interesting articles including beautiful imagery, places and things. Similar to the Robb Report, Architectural Digest and a glamour magazine all in one.

and finally..

  • Contained Beauty, Photographs, Reflections and Swimming Pools.  I travel with a copy of my coffee book wherever I go. It’s one of the things luxury hotels are missing in their lobby and hotel suites! CB is is filled with inspiration for those who love travel, design, architecture, landscape and of course, swimming pools.

Q. If you had time to add another feather in your cap, what would that be?

  • Another photographic coffee table book. Yes, I do have ideas, but I won’t share now.
  • A Real Estate Handbook –representing affluent and unique markets like ours in order to better prepare buyers and sellers.
  • I love architecture, so I would love to design beautiful homes and contemporary spaces.

Q. Movies and Books, Truth or Fiction?

  • Non-Fiction for sure. It’s so much more interesting to know that what I am reading or watching really occurred. It’s much more fascinating to me.

Q. Frequently Used App?

  • Open Table – We eat out a lot now that our kids are older, so Open Table makes it easy to locate a restaurant and book a table.

  • Instagram ( people ask, why more so than facebook? ) Instagram is instant and easily seen on your phone. I love sharing images, connecting with others, and scrolling through the app seeing posts people share. I often stumble upon another new follower who posts interesting or cool images, from there I discover others I like to follow. There is just so much to see, learn and share.

  • And PicStitch. PicStitch is a creative way to stitch images together. Creating collages, just like we did when we were girls, the only difference is we can do so without making a mess!
  • Four Square – I enjoy checking into a place and uploading a cool or colorful image representative of the place. I love imagery, in case you hadn’t noticed. I also like Four Square as a useful app for locating an address or finding a restaurant.  We were just outside Newport, RI, with less than an hour to find a place to eat and get back to our son’s lacrosse game at Portsmouth Abbey Prep School. So I punched in restaurants and discovered the best lobster shack around. Then I clicked the direction tab and Four Square provided us with directions. Very helpful! And the ratings were 100% accurate. We went back 🙂

  • This happens to be a ristorante in Palermo, Sicilia.

Q. The Best and Worst of Rising 50*?

  • The Best: You know who you are, what you like and what you don’t. You’re not easily influenced. If you want to go out, you go out. If you don’t want to go out you don’t go out.

  • The Worst: is when you are traveling and staying in hotels. When I am standing in the shower and am unable to read the small print on the shampoo, conditioner and body wash —micro mini bottles!  You’re wet, you don’t have your readers and so, well, you just guess! Body Wash or Shampoo?  Worse yet, when you grab all three plus the fourth, the body lotion, now that’s when things really get confusing, which is conditioner and which is body lotion? Not something that ever occurred to me would be an issue!

Q. Any advice or words of wisdom, now that you’re 50?

  • Take care of yourself. Eat right, exercise and start a skincare regimen, if you’re not already doing so.
  • On Goal Setting and Achieving: Write out your goals, share your goals, visualize your goals and believe in yourself, and your goals will become reality.
  • Be kind. Give back. Live with gratitude.

So it’s just a few days from my 50th birthday. So today, I am still “Rising 50”.  I recently learned that term as we have been filling out paperwork for our son, Chase, who is a lacrosse player, and they refer to the grade the students are entering as a… Rising Sophomore, Rising Junior, Rising Senior. And me, Rising 50. Soon I will be 50 and over the hump and onto something new. Where will this next year take me? Time will tell. I look forward to my next obsession.

And so it is, the Big 50!

With Gratitude,


A Grateful Life

Thank you for reading 🙂

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