They’re Not Ready for Granny Panties
Take five minutes out of your hectic day to have fun with the gals skewering middle age.

By Sandra Moyer DeHaven    October 5, 2011

(View the original article by clicking the link:

NRFGP bloggers Mary Fran Bontempo, Chrysa Smith, Pat Achilles and Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban.
 Photo courtesy of Sandra Moyer DeHaven

The women of want to make sure you leave their blog with a smile on your face.

How could you not with a name like that?

The four from the Central Bucks area don’t want to solve world problems or balance the nation’s budget. They’re just trying to give you a little lift to help you through your day. And if you learn something along the way, even better.

“The five minutes people spend on our site, if it gives them a chuckle or a laugh, that’s really important to us,” said blogger Mary Fran Bontempo, a former newspaper columnist who gives a self-described “Erma Bombeck sensibility” to the website.

Writers Chrysa Smith and Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban, along with writer-illustrator Pat Achilles, complete the rest of the crew.

Smack in the middle of middle age (they’re all between 50 and 52), the women discovered there wasn’t a whole lot on the Internet to which they could relate.

“There’s lots of mommy blogs out there, but we’re not the changing diapers set and we’re past the soccer mom stage,” explained Bontempo, who lives in Southampton.

Instead of shuttling kids from play date to play date, women in their age group stress over caring for aging parents or health issues.

Because of burdens at that life stage, humor and fun “are important components that are missing from people’s lives,” she said.

The blog tries to fill that void with items women 45-plus might be interested in reading. They get about 2,500 page views a month from readers all over the country and as far away as London, said Bontempo.

Simple is key, too – especially for women of a certain age that might not be as technologically savvy as the average 10-year-old today, quips Bontempo.

As they say on their blog: “… navigating a web page with a hundred little blue links, dozens of places to click and way too much information gives us a headache. It’s not fun. We want to enjoy the Internet; we just don’t want to have to be medicated to do it.”

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban writes about entertainment – movies and television shows that may not be on the radar of many of her readers.

“I really like movies that are not mainstream, and I wanted people to see they can enjoy them. Some people are a little intimidated by them, but they may like them if they just give them a try.”

Since she writes young-adult fiction (she’s the author of Two Moon Princess), she also watches television shows catering to that crowd, too.

ABC Family series like The Lying Game and The Nine Lives of Chloe King have garnered spots on her blog. “Things that are not necessarily for my age group,” The Doylestown resident said. “Most of the TV shows I watch are because that’s the group I write for. I call it research, but I like them and some of them are really good.”

Pat Achilles, also of Doylestown, provides a Monday cartoon for the blog site and for her own website. She also provides the Central Bucks Chuckle that appears Thursdays here on DoylestownPatch.

For her, the success lies in the quick hit and giggle a single-panel cartoon can produce.

Sometimes the humor is in the illustration, sometimes in the caption, and sometimes a combination of both, she said.

“Sometimes the illustration just makes the joke bigger,” she said.

Achilles, whose father wrote gags for cartoonists, also is the illustrator for Chrysa Smith’s series of books for children in grades 2 to 4: The Adventures of the Poodle Posse.

Smith, who has two poodles as pets, writes about home, fashion, beauty, food and lifestyle.

The group recently celebrated their blog’s one-year anniversary at a gelato party held at Smith’s Jamison home. Thanks to Ciao Bella Gelato, the company making the frozen treats Smith blogged about earlier in the summer, they enjoyed free pints of Belgian chocolate, pistachio and a few other favored flavors.

For Smith, Not Ready for Granny Panties gives her a chance to write about “something other than poodles” and to “connect with other women beyond the people I know.”

She is hopeful that the blog will encourage readers to “take life as an adventure every day. We tend to get caught up in our routines, but women need to get out there and have a good time. Shake it up!”