Book Review Live Life Colorfully

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Thank you to wunderkind pr for sending Live Life Colorfully for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

 

In the midst of an ongoing, world wide pandemic and the accompanying changes we all continue to experience, it’s refreshing to dive into a book that encourages creativity and seeing life differently.

Jason Naylor’s beautiful book, Live Life Colorfully, offers respite, uplifts the spirit and fires up the creativity nestled within us all. I can’t help but smile over the bold, colorful pages as I slowly and thoughtfully thumb through the book. Each page is an invitation to bring more color, more positivity, into my life. It’s an invitation I happily accept.

Allow me to introduce you to Jason Naylor and his colorful life.

Live Life Colorfully title meme

Meet Jason Naylor

Jason is an award winning artist and designer based in NYC. He is known for his bright colors and even brighter messages of hope. Originally from Salt Lake City, he traveled to New York as a teen and felt drawn to the color, the art and the culture there.

Jason’s work has received global recognition, including the Golden Novum Design award, and he has been featured on HGTV and the Discovery Channel. In 2018, Jason was named by BUMBLE as one of the 100 Most Inspiring New Yorkers, and his colorful creations have found partnership with brands like Coach, Guess, Pepsi, and Maybelline.

Jason’s mission is to spread color and positivity around the world. His brightly colored designs and insightful words reflect his zeal for life, his quest for joy, and his love of LOVE.  His art ranges from videos to illustrations to typography to murals. And now he’s created his first book, Live Life Colorfully.

“I like to describe my color palette as electric. My art is very reliant upon messaging, often about kindness or love, but I don’t see these as something passive. I think they should be treated with passion and energy, and my palette supports that.” Jason Naylor

Those words perfectly capture Jason’s book. It’s full of that passion and energy.

Live Life Colorfully Jason Naylor
Live Life Colorfully – artist Jason Naylor

Live Life Colorfully Book

One of Jason’s strongest messages is to “live life colorfully” so it’s no surprise to discover those words as the title and theme of his new release.

The square hardcover book features rich, bold colors on pages with black  or brilliantly hued backgrounds. However, this isn’t just a book to read cover to cover or a “coffee table” book. No. This beautiful book offers insights, tips, quotes and activities…99 of them…to add joy, positivity and creativity to life.

Did you know that looking at or using strong vibrant colors lifts the spirits, stimulates the brain and boosts creativity?

Live Life Colorfully offers all of that within its pages with a mix of inspiration, tips and fun activities.  It’s the perfect gift for self help, motivation, and happiness seekers, as well as lovers of pop art and bright colors.

Live Life Colorfully page 54
Live Life Colorfully – #54 Albert Einstein quote

Sample of Pages

Take a look at some of the bright, fun pages within Live Life Colorfully.

#24 Color Your Sidewalk

How long has it been since YOU colored on the sidewalk? It’s an activity children enjoy however as adults, we either don’t take the time to play in this way or we feel foolish for coloring madly on the sidewalk.

Jason encourages the reconnection with the inner child, something I’ve been consciously doing for several years. It’s amazing how doing so fires up creativity.

Live Life Colorfully page 24
Live Life Colorfully – #24 Color Your Sidewalk

#2 Stick it to the (Hu)Man

I love the reminder on this page to leave encouraging notes around the home or office. I have a stack of colorful sticky notes, which is perfect! Often we crave words of praise from someone…anyone. We can encourage ourselves with funny sayings, words of praise or inspiring quotes.

And what a great idea for brightening a child’s room or surprising a co-worker.

Live Life Colorfully page 2
Live Life Colorfully – #2 Leave sticky notes around the house or office

#77 Four Letter Words

I love this activity. Jason writes that four letter words, also called colorful language, often refer to profane or vulgar words. However he says we get it wrong. There are many four letter words that inspire, encourage, uplift or possess deeper meanings.

Jason shares some of his favorite four letter words and invites the reader to come up with more.

Live Life Colorfully 77
Live Life Colorfully – #77 Four Letter Words

My Thoughts About Live Life Colorfully

Simply stated, I love this book. I feel energized, joyful and creative as I work through it. The quotes inspire me. And some of the pages elicit a laugh while others lead me to deeper thoughts and realizations.

There are pages on cutting out fear, making a paper airplane, growing succulents and shining as your absolute self. One activity encourages the reader to give things away. Another one discusses hugs.  There’s a helpful tip on organizing your phone apps by color and one to colorize your closet.

Jason lives life boldly, compassionately, confidently and yes, colorfully and I appreciate the gifts he offers to the world.

In the forward to the book, Jason shares these words:

“Live life colorfully is a succinct way to say ‘Be yourself, be brave, be proud of who you are, be kind, be loving and be happy!’ I hope that exploring this book will help you do just that.”

That’s exactly what the book is doing as I explore it. I randomly open to a page and read the text. If an activity is present, then I do that. During a year when my intention is to be my most authentic, creative “wild woman” self, Jason’s book serves as a powerful reminder of what that means.

Live Life Colorfully 53
Live Life Colorfully – #53 Use Colored Pens

Get Your Book

Are you ready to bring more color, creativity and joy into your life?

You can order your copy of Live Life Colorfully at Chronicle Books or through Bookshop. It’s also available at Amazon.

I believe you’ll enjoy colorizing your life!

Book Cover

 

 

 

 

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Birthday Celebrations

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My birthday celebrations began on November 7 of last year. And 63 days later, the fun activities brought me to January 9, the day of my birth. It’s been interesting. And I learned a lot, following curiosity, which is why I play this birthday game.

Check out the first post, 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, then read on for the final installment.

Birthday Celebrations title meme

Birthday Celebrations

As with the last three birthday updates, I’m listing each activity on the day I drew the folded slip of paper out of the jar. And I’m sharing photos and details about some of the activities and adding whether they are completed or in process.

After the last birthday update, I only had five slips of paper remaining in the jar. Out of 63 activities, I still have about a dozen left to complete. These are scheduled out so that I make sure I do actually get them finished.

1/5/2021 Paint fingernails an unusual color, for me (completed)

Just painting my fingernails is a beyond my comfort zone activity! I don’t mind painted toenails, however I don’t like my fingernails painted. I keep my nails cut short due to the fact that I garden from spring until fall. And I don’t have the patience to wait for nails to dry. I invariably rush the process and mess up the nails right away.

After considering nail polish color options, I selected teal. My brand color, for Cindy Goes Beyond, is teal. Curious today, I checked the symbolism of that color, since it seems to attract me. Here’s what I discovered:

Teal combines the calming properties of blue with the renewing and healing properties of green. It’s a revitalizing, rejuvenating color that represents communication, intuition, empathy and clarity of thought. Those drawn to teal are open minded, like to keep options open and don’t quickly judge people or situations. They are creative and artistic. Those who like the color teal appreciate things that are different. They value their own uniqueness and don’t want to fit in with the crowd.

I’ve associated the color teal with Cindy Goes Beyond for at least four years and yet until I painted my nails that color, I never looked up the symbolism.  This is the most valuable aspect of my birthday celebrations game…I learn new things, about the world and about myself.

 

Birthday Celebrations paint nails
Birthday Celebrations – paint nails an unusual color, for me.

1/6/2021 Visit a place in Kansas I’ve never visited before (scheduled)

1/7/2021 Plan a trip to Gatlinburg Tennessee (completed)

I hoped to visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee last fall. With COVID, I chose to wait until this year, perhaps late summer/early fall. Truthfully, I don’t know if traveling will be any better this year, however, I at least planned out the trip.

Gatlinburg is a picturesque mountain town in eastern Tennessee, located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are numerous resorts there, a charming downtown district and lots of attractions such as the Space Needle Observation Tower and an amusement park.

As a first time visitor to Gatlinburg, I will enjoy the abundant nature trails and scenic views. Plus, my Lauderdale ancestors resided in nearby Cleveland, Tennessee before traveling to Missouri. I plan to visit Cleveland while I’m in the area.

Birthday Celebrations Gatlinburg
Birthday Celebrations – plan a trip to Gatlinburg (Canva photo)

1/8/2021 Have a day of smoothies only (scheduled)

1/9/2021 Take a virtual flying lesson (not completed but coming up)

Celebrating the Day

On my birthday, January 9, I enjoyed the progressive lunch through town, an activity I drew on 12/7. Greg accompanied me. We visited four restaurants and enjoyed four courses, finishing with vegan chocolate cake and hot tea at Bookhouse Cinema and Pub.

Because my birthday fell on a Saturday, I had opportunity to complete several activities over the weekend.

Weather played a significant role in delaying three of the four visits to places in the four state area. I have those scheduled and new places to visit picked out. And my great nephew Ethan is giving me the virtual flying lesson. A future pilot, he has a flight simulator for me to try, to experience flying a plane. At age 16 Ethan recently flew an actual plane for the first time.

I do love this birthday game. The activities create opportunities to try new things, to learn and grow, and to have fun. This year I combined a mix of curious activities, a tribute to my Year of Curiosity, and wild woman activities as a nod to the upcoming Year of the Wild Woman. It was the perfect blend as I finished 2020 and welcomed 2021.

I’m already jotting down ideas for 64 Wild Woman Activities for my 64th Birthday.

Birthday Celebrations birthday girl
Birthday Celebrations – this is 63

Check out the other birthday updates:

Holiday Flair

Stories to Tell

Welcoming a New Year

 

Try one of these teal nail polish shades from Amazon:


 

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Fun Scottish Expressions and What They Mean

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Ah, Scotland. For me, the most beautiful country in the world. And Edinburgh, the capital city, is my favorite place to explore. The bagpipes, the castles, the green, green hills covered with heather in the summer and the language all pierce my heart. If you’ve ever watched the popular series Outlander, you’ve perhaps appreciated listening to the soft Scottish brogue too.

It takes me about 24 hours, in the country, to begin to understand that wonderful Scottish accent. And the phrases and slang are both endearing and amusing. Sit in a pub and listen to the locals talking to each other and you’ll understand why it’s one of my favorite things to do while touring the country.

These fun Scottish expressions and what they mean will help you decipher what’s said.

Fun Scottish Expressions title meme

Fun Scottish Expressions and What They Mean

Although the Scots speak English, their language is influenced by Gaelic, an older language that harkens back to the 13th century. Like other countries, there are different dialects present, from the northern Highlands to the southern Borders. However, all Scots are experts at turning a phrase, from humorous slang to hilarious cutting insults.

Lang may yer lum leek

While this phrase may sound inappropriate, it literally means “long may your chimney smoke”. It’s used as a toast to health, wishing one a long and healthy life.

Failing means yer playin’

An encouraging expression that means “at least you are trying”.

Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye

This expression translates to “what’s for you will no go by you”, meaning what’s meant to be, will be. I love this one.

Haste ye back

Used as a farewell, this one means “come back with speed” or “hurry back”.

Ah dinnae ken

Heard frequently in Scotland and on the series Outlander, this expression means “I don’t/didn’t know”. I use ah dinnae ken often when I’m speaking aloud to myself.

Fun Scottish Expressions Highlands
Fun Scottish Expressions – Ah dinnae ken how beautiful the Highlands are, until I traveled through them.

We’re a Jock Tamson’s bairns

This one means we are all God’s children. No one is better than anyone else. We are all equals.

Noo jist haud on

No, just hold on, meaning wait a minute, take your time or you are speaking too fast.

Is the cat deid?

This unusual expression means, “your trousers are too short”. Why, ah dinnae ken!

Haud yer wheesht

If you hear this expression, you need to shut up!

Och, it’s a dreich day

A reference to the weather, this means it’s a cold, wet, gloomy day. Scotland definitely has it’s share of dreich days.

Fun Scottish Expressions Glasgow
Fun Scottish Expressions – a dreich day in Glasgow

I’m fair puckled

I’m out of breath. Try this phrase next time you climb flights of stairs!

Gonnae no’ da that

Don’t do that!

Yer bum’s oot the windae

Literally, “your butt is out the window”. This one makes me laugh because I get such a visual image. It means you are lying or exaggerating.

Ma heid’s mince

“My head is mince”, meaning I’m a bit confused or mixed up.

Mony a mickle maks a muckle

I love this phrase too. Say it fast several times. It translates to “small amounts of savings soon build up to large amounts.” What a great saying to write on a travel savings jar!

Fun Scottish Expressions lass
Fun Scottish Expressions – this lass believes in mony a mickle maks a muckle. My heart longs to return to Scotland.

Aye mate, nae bother

Yes, friend, no problem. I absolutely love the Scottish “aye”.

That’s pure boggin

When something is boggin, it’s disgusting. That’s pure boggin means “that’s really disgusting”.

She’s a bonnie lass

You might know this one, as we use bonnie somewhat in the US. It means “she’s a beautiful woman”.

Dinnae be a wee clipe

This one means “don’t be a tattle tell”.

Yer oot yer face

Another one that makes me laugh, this one means “you are extremely drunk”.

Fun Scottish Expressions cheers
Fun Scottish Expressions – we dinnae get oot our faces in Edinburgh!

Mad wae it

This means “drunk”, as in Ian wiz so mad wae it.

Och, yer talking oot yer arse

You might guess this one! It means you are talking nonsense or making something up.

Peely-wally

This expression is used when someone doesn’t look 100% his best or seems out of sorts. Yer lookin’ a bit peely-wally.

Wur tearin’ the tartan

When enjoying a riveting, gossipy conversation, people are tearin’ the tartan.

Dinnae fash yerself

Outlander fans are familiar with this phrase. Jamie utters it to Claire frequently. It means “don’t worry yourself” as in, don’t get stressed or annoyed over a situation. Jamie calls Claire Sasanach. In case you wonder, that word translates to “English born” or it can refer to someone born in the Scottish lowlands or borders as opposed to the Highlands.

Fun Scottish Expressions Eilean Donan Castle
Fun Scottish Expressions – dinnae fash yerself when you visit Scotland

Which of the Fun Scottish Expressions is Your Favorite?

Did you pick out a favorite expressions? Truthfully, I love all of them and use several, privately. I enjoy Scottish films. The background scenery, the city shots and especially hearing the language all tug me energetically back toward Scotland.

Reading these expressions as I typed the words, I could mentally “hear” them spoken with a Scottish accent. It makes me feel homesick. I trust travel restrictions will ease someday and I’ll get back there.

I’ll leave you with one more fun phrase.

Better tae bust oot than rust oot.

Translation: Live every moment of life to the absolute fullest before you die.

Aye!

Fun Scottish Expressions flags

Other fun posts in this series:

English expressions

Irish expressions

 

Check out these Amazon finds. Click HERE to start a FREE 30 Amazon Prime trial.

Rent Outlander on Amazon or start a FREE 7 day trial of Starz and watch the whole series.

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Year of the Wild Woman

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A fresh, new year brings with it fresh, new possibilities and opportunities. For me it also delivers a new theme or word, a symbol and a song. These components serve as guideposts for the upcoming year.

I adopted these practices many years ago. It took me several years to realize that the companions for the year long journey chose me, rather than the other way around. Knowing this deepens my appreciation for the incredible way that life works. And, looking back at my journey over the years, I can see the progression and growth that occurred, as captured by my words, symbols and songs.

This year, 2021, is the Year of the Wild Woman. I’m extremely excited about what will unfold during the next 12 months.

Year of the Wild Woman title meme

Year of the Wild Woman – the Words

I’m typically given one word for the year. However, this year there are two…Wild Woman.

This is how the words initially came to me. Working in my garden one summer day, literally down on the ground digging in the dirt as I planted flowers, a phrase popped into my mind.

“It’s time to release your inner wild, your wild woman.”

I sat back and considered those words. “Okay,” I thought, “how do I do that?”

And thus began a journey of exploring what it meant to BE a wild woman and how to release her. You see, my inner wild woman went underground a very long time ago.

Wild Thing

When I was a teen in high school, I used my own money to purchase a pair of jeans and a jean jacket. The back of the jacket featured a magnificent lion, and the words “Wild Thing”. On the jeans the word “wild” appeared on one back pocket while the word “thing” appeared on the other. I happily wore my new jeans and jacket to school…exactly one time.

I was made fun of all day. My male friends, and many boys who weren’t even remotely my friends, teased me about being a “wild thing” or made suggestive remarks. I went home and tossed the jacket into the back of my closet, never to wear it again. I ripped the back pockets off of the jeans and continued to wear them occasionally.

What I learned that day was that being a “wild thing” was not acceptable. Wildness equaled partying, loose sexuality and out of control behavior, none of which were true about me. Although I possessed an inner wildness, and an untamed, freedom loving spirit, I pushed those deep within and learned to accept domestication.

Definition of Wild Woman

As I’ve learned what it means to be a wild woman and how to unleash my inner wildness, two books have guided me. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle and “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I’ll share more about both in upcoming posts. I love this definition of a wild woman by Clarissa:

“Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women.”

I recognize that the journey toward releasing my inner wild woman actually began about ten years ago. And I also recognize that it is indeed time to fully free mine. While I’ve known about her for a long time, I felt I wasn’t allowed to live freely as her. My growth in the last decade makes me feel that I can do that now.

In October of 2020, I suddenly realized I didn’t know my word for 2021. I asked, out loud, what my theme and/or word was. Then I laughed as the words “wild woman” popped into my head. Of course. The conversation with the Divine that began in a garden, which seems highly appropriate, concluded with these words: “Wild Woman…be who you are”. And that’s the best way I can describe what a wild woman is. She is someone who completely embraces who she is as her truest, most authentic self, and lives in that freedom.

Year of the Wild Woman shake
Year of the Wild Woman – shaking loose all that is not soul

Year of the Wild Woman – the Symbol

With the theme for 2021 established, I opened myself to possibilities for the symbol. The symbol is important to me. It connects strongly with my word or words, in this case, and it serves as spiritual taps on the shoulder as I journey through the year. When I see the symbol, it means I need to pay attention.

I considered the lioness as a possible symbol, or even the cheetah, which plays a role in Glennon’s book, “Untamed”. But no, those weren’t for me. “What about the tree?” I asked. I love trees and feel very connected to that symbol. “It’s the tree, right? How about a tree?” No tree for this year.

The symbol that came to me, through repetition and synchronicity, is the moon. The moon symbolizes feminine energy, receptivity, regeneration, intuition and mystery.

My legal name, Cynthia, is Greek for “moon goddess”. Moon goddess….wild woman…that’s perfect. As one of my 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, I purchased a moon necklace. I’m excited to wear it this year.

As I have the last three years, I drew a representation of my year, using the wild woman and the moon elements. It rests on my bedside table, a daily reminder of who I am.

Year of the Wild Woman art
Year of the Wild Woman art.

Year of the Wild Woman – the Song

For a brief time I considered “Moon River” for my song for 2021. That song kept popping up, so much so that I even watched the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s again, which features it. I still love it and choose it as my secondary song.

When I seriously paid attention to what song chose me, I knew it was “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.

This song means a lot to me. My granddaughter Aubrey introduced the song to me years ago, as a favorite of hers. I used to do tai chi to this song. Although it may seem like a strange song to perform tai chi to, it works beautifully for me.

The fire element pairs well with my moon symbol. Fires represents creativity, passion, rebirth, desire and purification. Energetically, the fire of creativity and the moon of receptivity play important roles in my life already. And when you are “on fire” you are excited, passionate and enthusiastic. Yes, make it so.

The Journey Continues

Although 2020 made me a bit cautious about new years and what they can bring, I’m excited and optimistic about 2021. I feel like this year promises a great deal of personal growth. Not everyone will understand or even like that growth, however freeing my inner Wild Woman is the invitation and my soul is responding.

My granddaughter Aubrey asked me recently what my word is for 2021. She’s known since her toddler days that a new one accompanies me every year. When I told her “Wild Woman”, her eyes widened a bit. Curious, I asked her what those words mean to her. Without missing a beat she replied, “Yaya in the backyard, naked.”

I laughed. She’s not wrong. However, what I love about Aubrey’s answer is this. She didn’t say that a wild woman is out of control or bad or wrong. Her honest answer suggests a woman who is experiencing untamed joy and passion. Naked represents uncovered and unashamed. It’s natural and connected to nature.

I think this girl, who exhibits her own inner wildness rather well, nailed it.

Join me during this Year of the Wild Woman. We can all learn and grow together.

Year of the Wild Woman Cindy

 

Wild Woman Finds on Amazon:


 

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Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Sistine Chapel

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The Sistine Chapel, located within Vatican City in Rome, Italy contains one of the most famous frescoes in the world. On the chapel ceiling, Michelangelo’s masterpiece inspires wonder. Security officers within the room encourage silence out of respect for the space. Truly, the magnificence of the paintings instill reverence. It’s not difficult to observe the silence.

Photos are not allowed in the Sistine Chapel either, to protect the vibrancy of the artwork. So when my daughter, grandson and I toured the room, we strove to soak it all in. Although I grew up seeing limited photos of the chapel, that someone took, I had no idea what to expect. Several things surprised me.

Check out these fun facts you may not know about the Sistine Chapel and see if any surprise you!

Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Sistine Chapel title meme

Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Sistine Chapel

Because we could not take photos in the chapel, I’m sharing photographs of other ceilings within Vatican City, which truly contains amazing collections of art. While not painted by Michelangelo, these ceilings inspire awe as well, when you look up.

The photo of the chapel ceiling, used here in this post, is one I purchased from the Canva site.

Where Does the Name Come From?

The chapel is named for Pope Sixtus IV, who commissioned the chapel’s construction in 1475. It rests on the foundation of the original Cappella Magna (Great Chapel). The chapel’s layout is reminiscent of the Temple of Solomon, as described in the Old Testament.

Size of the Chapel

The small size of the chapel surprised me. I think because the paintings are so complex, covering the ceiling and parts of the walls, I expected a huge room. In reality, the chapel measures a little larger than a professional basketball court.

Michelangelo Covered Another Artist’s Work

When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, beginning work in 1508, he covered the original fresco on the ceiling. Artist Piero Matteo d’Amelia created a blue night sky filled with gold stars.

Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Sistine Chapel St Peter's Basilica
Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Sistine Chapel – this gorgeous view is in St Peter’s Basilica

Michelangelo Didn’t Want to Paint the Chapel Ceiling

Michelangelo considered himself primarily a sculpture, not a painter.  In fact, he didn’t feel qualified for such a massive project as the chapel ceiling. However, because the pope asked him to do the work, he could not easily refuse. Michelangelo even entertained the thought that his rivals set up the commission, just to see him fail.

Michelangelo Expressed His Unhappiness in a Poem

The artist disliked his commission so much that he wrote a poem about it.  His friend Giovanni da Pistoia received the lament, which included the line, “I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture, hunched up here like a cat in Lombardy.” I somehow find it refreshing that the great Michelangelo could poetically tell it like it is!

Did He Paint Lying on His Back?

Although the story suggests that Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling while lying on his back, he in fact built his own scaffolding. This allowed him to stand near the ceiling, providing better precision and control of his brushes. As his poem suggests, however, the cramped working conditions and long hours looking up created physical pain for him.

St Peter's Basilica ceiling
Ceiling in St Peter’s Basilica, which is also located in Vatican City.

Four Years of Work

It took Michelangelo four years to complete the Sistine Chapel ceiling, covering 12,000 square feet of space. He left the portrait of God until last, so that he could refine and perfect his technique. A year into the painting, a large portion of the fresco developed mold. He had to repaint that section. He tried to use this setback as proof that he wasn’t the right artist for the work, however the pope asked him to continue.

Depiction of God

Michelangelo painted God as an older man with white hair and a long white beard. While this image later became common, Michelangelo was the first to portray God in this way. The angels surrounding God create an image with their spread wings that resembles a brain. Scholars think Michelangelo perhaps showed off his knowledge of anatomy.

Cover Up Those Nudes

In the 1560s Pope Pius IV ordered painted fig leaves and loincloths added to strategically cover the nudity in Michelangelo’s paintings. Fortunately, when restoration work was done between 1980 and 1999, to remove layers of grime that built up over the years, these cover ups were removed.

Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Sistine Chapel museum
Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Sistine Chapel – Vatican Museums contain beautiful ceilings too

The Last Judgment

Michelangelo also painted The Last Judgment on the wall above the altar. However, he returned 22 years after he completed the ceiling, to add this fresco. The artist included two figures in The Last Judgment that represent him and neither are considered flattering.

Acorn Motif

A reoccurring motif in Michelangelo’s work is the acorn. This is a nod by the artist to the patronage of Pope Sixtus IV, whose family name was Rovere, meaning oak in Italian.

Millions of Visitors

When we are not experiencing a pandemic, the Sistine Chapel draws more than five million visitors every year. If a visitor has exposed shoulders or clothing that ends above the knees, he or she is asked to cover up while within the chapel. Due to the high volume of visitors, sweat, carbon dioxide and skin flakes pose a threat to the frescoes. Methods of controlling humidity and temperature are underway.

Vatican City Hallway
Amazing ceiling in a museum hallway.

Well Worth a Visit

Our 12 day tour of Italy began in Rome. On our first full day there, we visited Vatican City. Nothing prepared me for the experience. The vast collections of art astounded me. St Peter’s Basilica moved me to tears. And the Sistine Chapel, which was near the end of our tour, truly was the highlight of an amazing half day spent exploring the vastness of Vatican City. I think my mouth involuntarily dropped open when I entered the chapel.

Is Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel worth seeing? Yes. Allot at least three hours and more if you have time. There’s so much to see and experience.

I hope the collection of fun facts you may not know about the Sistine Chapel inspires you to plan a visit. It’s a sight I’m extremely grateful for.

For now, check out this virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel.

Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Sistine Chapel ceiling
Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Sistine Chapel – a section of the famous ceiling (Canva photo)

Check out things you may not know about Michelangelo’s David HERE

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Welcoming a New Year

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

For almost two months I’ve moved steadily toward my birthday, one fun activity at a time.  Amazingly, this is my birthday week. I turn 63 on Saturday, January 9. I’m posting this update, the fourth one, with the final “what I learned” post coming in a couple of weeks.

As I did last year, somewhere in the middle of all these activities I wondered “Why am I doing this?” I question myself because these randomly selected celebrations and activities take time to complete. They add to already full days. However, they add to my life too and that’s the answer, that’s why I play this birthday game. The 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday take me beyond and make me think and help me grow.

Since my last birthday update, we’ve flipped the calendar over, saying goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021. The theme for this group of activities is Welcoming a New Year. It seems appropriate!

Welcoming a New Year title meme

Welcoming a New Year

As with the last three birthday updates, I’m listing each activity on the day I drew the folded slip of paper out of the jar. And I’m sharing photos and details about some of the activities and adding whether they are completed or in process.

12/22/2020 Watch A Christmas Carol with Finley (completed)

A treasured Christmas tradition in my family is watching A Christmas Carol during the holidays. The George C Scott adaptation aired on television for the first time in December, 1984. I held my sleeping three month old baby girl, Adriel, during that first viewing. Adriel and I have watched A Christmas Carol together every year since. We are often joined by other family members, however the two of us faithfully make sure we take the time to watch it together.

On this, our 37th viewing of the Dicken’s classic, my daughter held her sleeping baby daughter, Finley Grace. The sweet tradition continues.

Welcoming a New Year A Christmas Carol with Finley
Welcoming a New Year – Finley sleeping through A Christmas Carol

12/23/2020 Plan out an entire day…and follow the plan (completed)

I am actually just completing this scheduled day…today. Even though I use a planner and schedule blog and social media posts a month in advance, I rarely cross everything off my daily “to do” list. I planned out a day from waking up to going to bed. However, I’ve had trouble picking the day to carry out this highly scheduled day due to things popping up unexpectedly and the holidays.

Last night I set my alarm for an early wake up and felt excited to see if I could complete everything on my list. When I woke up this morning, before the alarm, I knew something was off. It was. I set my alarm for PM not AM. I overslept an hour and almost postponed my scheduled day…again. But you know what? I got up and got going and by noon I was back on track, time wise.

I’m happy to say I accomplished everything on my list, even a scheduled walk at the park after lunch. While I love spontaneity and going with the flow, after this productive Monday highly scheduled days might show up more often in my planner.

Welcoming a New Year scheduled day
Welcoming a New Year – I enjoyed my scheduled walk

12/24/2020 Dance around a fire in the fire pit at night (canceled because of weather…rescheduled for 1/5/2021)

12/25/2020 Plan a solo trip to the London Christmas Markets (completed)

A trip to London during the holidays perfectly aligns with a trip to Edinburgh’s Christmas Market. On paper I continued my holiday travels by flying from Edinburgh to London. While Edinburgh hosts one HUGE market, London features many spread out across the city.

I enjoyed researching the different markets, picking three to visit and locating suitable lodging for my visit. How magical to visit both of these cities during the Christmas season.

Welcoming a New Year London Christmas
Welcoming a New Year – and I hope the opportunity to travel

12/26/2020 Purchase reusable chopsticks (completed)

I love Thai food and vegan sushi. And I enjoy using chopsticks. Rather than continue to use and toss disposable chopsticks, I added an activity to encourage less waste. As a result, I purchased a package of metal chopsticks and a package of decorative wooden ones.

Welcoming a New Year reusable chopsticks
Welcoming a New Year – reusable chopsticks

12/27/2020 Visit a place in Arkansas I’ve not visited before (scheduled)

12/28/2020 Create a garden sculpture from found objects (not completed)

12/29/2020 Arrange a comped trip (in process)

12/30/2020 Eat only vegetables for a day (completed)

12/31/2020 Include a new tradition in my New Year’s Eve celebration (completed)

Weather prevented me from building a roaring fire in my fire pit and burning an effigy of 2020…a New Year’s Eve tradition from Ecuador. So instead I ate 12 grapes at midnight, a custom from Spain. Regardless of the activity, I welcomed 2021 with an open heart and wide open arms.

Welcoming a New Year traditions
Welcoming a New Year – 12 grapes tradition from Spain

1/1/2021 Create art for 2021 theme and symbol (completed)

I drew this activity on the perfect day. For several years I’ve created an art piece, using a sketching pencil and colored pencils, that represents my word or theme and symbol for the new year.

My theme for 2021 is Wild Woman. My symbol is the moon. I had so much fun creating art incorporating both of those things. I’m pleased with how it turned out. The framed art rests on my bedside table where I look at it often.

Welcoming a New Year themed artwork
Welcoming a New Year – I loved creating this art piece to represent 2021

1/2/2021 Create a comfort package to give to the homeless (not completed)

1/3/2021 Do a synchronized dance (not completed)

1/4/2021 Learn a phrase in multiple languages (completed)

I had fun with this activity today. With my theme for 2021, the phrase I chose is “I am a Wild Woman”. Using a translator app I translated the phrase into 11 languages: French, German, Danish, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Spanish, Afrikaans, Greek, Russian and Swahili.

I’m very grateful to my grandson Dayan, who speaks Russian. Without his help my translated phrase would have read, “I am a crazy woman”. And perhaps that is true as well but it’s not my intended phrase! If any of the other translations are incorrect, I take responsibility for those. It was fun on the app to listen to the phrases in their respective languages. Use this app HERE.

Birthday Week

I have five slips of paper left in the jar. And I have a handful of activities yet to complete. Complete them I will. A few are scheduled out. And trips that canceled due to weather are rescheduled. Watch for the final birthday update on January 18.

Although I gain back some hours in the day, I feel a bit sad when the birthday celebrations come to a close. They truly are fun and I love the new experiences.

This birthday game creates a powerful incentive for staying healthy and fit. The older I become the more days I get to celebrate as I head toward the next birthday! Later this year I’ll launch 64 wild woman activities for my 64th birthday. Won’t those celebrations be fun?

Welcoming a New Year wild woman
Multiple ways to say “I am a Wild Woman”.

Birthday Updates

63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday

Holiday Flair

Stories to Tell

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Movies That Inspire You to Visit England

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Third in the Movies That Inspire Travel series, this post offers a selection of movies that inspire you to visit England. Click these links for the Italy and Ireland movie posts. I’m enjoying this series greatly as it combines two of my favorite activities…traveling and watching films. I hope you are enjoying them too. Additionally, my intention is to encourage readers to add countries to their travel lists, inspired by these amazing movies.

While I can’t travel as much right now, due to COVID imposed regulations, I can soothe the longing to do so by watching films with storylines set in the countries I love.

Grab a cup of tea or a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy an evening watching one or two of these movies.

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England title meme

Sense and Sensibility  1995

This Jane Austen classic stars Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet.

The death of Mr. Dashwood leaves his widow and three daughters poor, as his son from his first marriage inherits all. The women are marginally provided for by a kind cousin. However, marriage prospects for the young women are limited. Sisters Elinor and Marianne possess different perspectives on life and different interests but they love and support each other through challenging circumstances and tangled romantic relationships.

Fun fact: Newcomer Kate Winslet was originally only considered for the small role of Lucy Steele. However, Kate really wanted to play Marianne. When she arrived for her audition, she pretended her agent sent her to read for the role of Marianne. Her reading won her the part.

Watch Sense & Sensibility on Starz or rent on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to visit England sense and sensibility
Movies that inspire you to visit England – Sense & Sensibility

Bridget Jones’s Diary  2001

Rene Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and Gemma Jones star in this romantic comedy.

Bridget Jones struggles with self perceived imperfections. As a New Year’s resolution, she decides to take charge of her life and make changes. Keeping a diary of her thoughts allows her to discover her own personal truths. When two very different men enter her life during her year of self improvements, and both catch her romantic interest, hilarity ensues.

Fun fact: For the role of Bridget, Zellweger gained 25 pounds, learned to speak with an English accent and worked at a British publishing company for a month. No one at the publishing company recognized her. On her desk she kept a framed photo of her then husband, Jim Carrey. Her co-workers found this odd but did not mention it to Zellweger for fear of embarrassing her.

Watch Bridget Jones’s Diary on Starz or rent on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England bridget jones diary
Movies That inspire you to visit England – Bridget Jones’s Diary

Gosford Park  2001

Gosford Park, a comedic mystery, starts Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas, Charles Dance, Tom Hollander, Jeremy Northam, Clive Owen and Stephen Fry.

Set in the 1930s, in an old country estate, Lord and Lady McCordle host a weekend gathering. The invitees…rich, pretentious and famous…anticipate a relaxing weekend hunting pheasant. But when a murder occurs guests and members of the below stairs staff go on the suspected murderer list. As an investigation ensues, by bumbling Inspector Thompson, each person does their best to hide his or her secrets.

Fun fact: The well received series Downton Abbey was originally planned as a spin off of this film. Instead it developed into a stand alone series inspired by Gosford Park and set several decades earlier.

Rent Gosford Park on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England gosford park
Movies that inspire you to visit England – Gosford Park

Calendar Girls  2003

This comedy stars Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Penelope Wilton, Linda Bassett and Annette Crosbie.

Middle aged women in the Women’s Institute brainstorm ways to up the fundraising efforts for their local chapter. Last year’s calendar, featuring area bridges, only raised a little more than 76 pounds. Inspiration comes from a member’s husband, who before he dies of leukemia says: “The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire. The last phase is always the most glorious.”

The women choose to sell a calendar featuring 12 local middle aged women posing nude. They hope to sell a few hundred calendars. The outcome surprises and delights them.

Fun fact; This movie is based on actual events. The real “calendar girls” were all members of the Rylstone Women’s Institute. They make guest appearances in the film.

Watch Calendar Girls on Cinemax or rent on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England calendar girls
Movies that inspire you to visit England – Calendar Girls

Love Actually

Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Martine McCutcheon, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy, Gregor Fisher, Colin Firth, Kris Marshall, Martin Freeman, Johanna Page, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andrew Lincoln, Keira Knightley, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Lucia Moniz star in this romantic comedy.

Christmas time in London is the setting for this fun romp of a film that follows the interconnected lives of eight very different couples. Each couple deals with their love relationships and their complex lives, some doing so better than others.

Fun fact: The lake in which Firth and Moniz “swim” is actually only 18 inches deep. The actors knelt to give the illusion of deeper water. The lake was also swarming with mosquitos. Firth’s bitten elbow swelled up to the size of an avocado and required medical treatment.

Rent Love Actually on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England love actually
Movies that inspire you to visit England – Love Actually

Pride & Prejudice  2005

Keira Knightley, Matthey Macfadyen, Donald Sutherland, Talulah Riley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone and Carey Mulligan star in the romantic drama adapted from a Jane Austen novel.

Pride & Prejudice is the humorous and tender story of five sisters growing up in England’s Georgian era. The Bennett Family’s future happiness depends on the daughters marrying well. When the wealthy and seemingly snobbish Mr. Darcy moves into the area, for a summer in the country, the sisters’ lives are upended. Is it love in the air…or is it a battle of the sexes?

Fun fact: Macfadyen, who portrays Mr. Darcy, is very nearsighted. During the early morning scene, in the misty rain, the director stood behind the camera waving a red flag so the actor knew where to walk.

Rent Pride & Prejudice on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England pride and prejudice
Movies that inspire you to visit England – Pride & Prejudice

The Theory of Everything  2014

This biographical drama stars Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior and David Thewlis.

The Theory of Everything explores the life of the most brilliant and celebrated physicist of our time, Stephen Hawking. It’s also the love story of Hawking and his wife, Jane. Over the course of their marriage and life together, Hawking becomes ill with ALS, a degenerative motor neuron disorder. As Hawking defies his prognosis and makes amazing discoveries in science, his marriage is challenged to its core.

Fun fact: To prepare for the role, Redmayne lost 15 pounds, trained for four months with a dancer to learn how to control his body, met with 40 ALS patients and kept a chart tracking the order in which Hawking’s muscles deteriorated. He stood for hours before a mirror, contorting his face and between takes stood motionless and hunched over, to stay in character. And he met with Stephen Hawking once for three hours, before filming began. He was afraid to ask the physicist anything.

Rent The Theory of Everything on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England the theory of everything
Movies That Inspire You to Visit England – The Theory of Everything

Paddington  2014

This fantasy adventure stars Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw, Matt Lucas, Nicole Kidman and Peter Capaldi.

A young Peruvian bear, with a love for all things British, travels to London in search of a home. Around his neck is a label: “Please look after this bear. Thank you.”

Lost at Paddington Station, the bear realizes city life is not what he imagined. Fortunately, he meets the Brown Family, who kindly offer him a place to stay.  All appears to be going well until the newly named Paddington Bear catches the attention of a museum taxidermist.

Fun fact: Paddington Bear is based on an actual lone teddy bear that author Michael Bond noticed in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve, 1956. He purchased the bear as a gift for his wife and later wrote a story about him. The bear’s appearance in the story…and subsequent movies…was inspired by old newsreels showing train-loads of child evacuees leaving London during WWII with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases.

Rent Paddington on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England paddington
Movies That Inspire You to Visit England – Paddington

Downton Abbey  2019

Hugh Bonneville, Sophie McShera, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leach, Michelle Dockery, Phyllis Logan, Laura Carmichael, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton and Brandon Coyle star in this lavish period piece drama.

The film continues the story of the Crowley family and their below stairs staff at Downton Abbey, following the popularity of the long running television series. Set in 1927, the Crowleys and the Downton Abbey staff prepare for the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary while struggling with their own life dilemmas and challenges.

Fun fact: The royal visit of King George V to Downton Abbey was based on his real life visit to Wentworth Woodhouse, an estate in Yorkshire used to film the ballroom scenes in the movie.

Watch Downton Abbey on HBO or buy on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England downton abbey
Movies that inspire you to visit England – Downton Abbey

Emma  2020

This romantic drama, inspired by the Jane Austen novel, stars Anna Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth, Gemma Whelan, Bill Nighy and Josh O’Connor.

Handsome, clever and rich, Miss Emma Woodhouse is without equal in her small town. Desiring that everyone other than herself find true love, Emma moves through a series of comical mismatches and romantic missteps before discovering what real love is all about.

Fun fact: Emma and Mr. Knightley are not wearing gloves during their dance scene, while all the other dancers are gloved. Director Autumn de Wilde felt the bare hands added to the sexual tension between the two characters during their last dance.

Watch Emma on HBO or buy on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England emma
Movies that inspire you to visit England – Emma

Movies That Inspire You to Visit England

Truly, there are SO many movies with English storylines that it was difficult to limit my choices to ten. These are some of my favorites though. And several, such as Emma, have more than one version to enjoy.

All of these films increased my desire to experience England for myself. I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit this beautiful country in 2017.

Until I can return, I’ll stir my memories and create new intentions by watching British films.

What’s your favorite movie set in England?

Jack the Ripper London Tour
Seated on the top deck during our Jack the Ripper London tour.

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Year of Curiosity in Review

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Another year slipped by and what a year, right? Writing the 2019 year end review and looking forward to 2020 I knew not what lay ahead. And I’m glad I did not. I’d rather go with the flow of life and learn as I go.

I’ve been writing year end reviews since I began blogging in 2014. This year that’s still my intention…and yet it was such a different year that I struggled initially with what to share. Typically I offer highlights from the past 12 months. Ultimately, I decided to do that this year too, with a slight twist. For the year that we all experienced shaped our journeys. How could it not?

So here it is, the Year of Curiosity in Review, with thoughts about the year in general thrown in.

Year of Curiosity in Review title meme

Year of Curiosity

2020 was my Year of Curiosity with the key as my symbol and “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana my song. I love following curiosity to see where it leads. It truly is the key that opens doors for me to adventures and new opportunities. With my love for travel, I hoped curiosity would lead me on many adventures, both near and far.

I also noted that 20/20 is a term associated with eyesight. Therefore, the year could bring greater clarity and vision with new things to see.

All those things proved true, however not in the way I imagined.

The Unexpected

I certainly saw things I never expected to see: a world wide pandemic, a shortage on toilet paper, the craziest election year I’ve ever experienced, conspiracy theories of all kinds, face masks, people against face masks, people who believe anything they read on social media, misinformation, racial inequality and fear, anger, frustration and loss. Ugliness came to the surface in many as a response to these dramatic and oft time painful shifts.

I’ve shared before that when we get squeezed, what’s inside comes out. I saw that in abundance this year. People turned on each other. Families divided. Friends parted ways. I heard words spew out of mouths that I never thought I’d hear and saw lines drawn in social media posts that created more division. Great clarity did indeed come this year as we all revealed more of who we really are, inside.

The Good

This year brought wonderful surprises too. I welcomed a precious new grandbaby, a child long desired by her parents. Finley Grace brings such joy and hope in the midst of chaos.

I saw people go above and beyond, helping others, being light, offering from whole hearts. Others sacrificed their time and resources. Those in the medical community became front line warriors. Opportunities did arrive, for adventures, expansion and for growth…so much growth. My trust in the goodness of God and in those who do good, in spite of it all, deepened greatly.

And in my dark backyard, I witnessed an event in the sky that had not occurred for 800 years. Standing there I realized how small and temporary we humans are. Time marches onward, in circles that repeat and overlap. Humanity endures, learns and grows through struggles, birth pains and sheer determination.

Year of Curiosity in Review happy couple
Year of Curiosity in Review – happy parents to be, my daughter and her husband
Year of Curiosity in Review Finley Grace
Finley Grace, one of 2020’s greatest gifts

Year of Curiosity in Review

Here are the highlights from this most unusual year!

The Blogs

What a year of growth for the blogs. A simple system that I created, planning out in advance each month’s blog posts and social media posts, proved so helpful. I keep a notebook with the months on separate pages and write out the details for each day. Doing so saves me time and keeps me on track with my goals.

I took a travel writing class in January that I highly recommend, Travel Blogging Blastoff by Pete and Heather Rees. Check out the course here. Although I didn’t get to travel in the way I intended to, due to COVID, I adapted.

Mondays are lifestyle and review posts on Cindy Goes Beyond

What a joy to expand the number of companies and brands I worked with this year. I accept assignments and campaigns from companies I trust and like, while staying open to trying new products. I worked with more than 40 brands and love the experiences. And they seem to appreciate what I offer. Many companies send repeat assignments and make me an affiliate. Check out this post I wrote for Smartr Skin as an example.

I’m happy to report as well that I’ve earned the most income so far, from the blogs this year. I had my first $1000 month from blogging which is exciting and encouraging. It’s onward and upward from here.

Year of Curiosity in Review smartr skin
Year of Curiosity in Review – Smartr Skin campaign on Instagram.

Wednesdays are all things health related on Journey With Healthy Me

I like the schedule I’ve worked out, on posting. Three posts a week are much more manageable than the ten a week I used to do, between the two blogs! Wednesday my focus is on Journey. I continue to share health tips, recipes and personal experiences. Pop over to my other blog, if you’ve never visited before. Check out this post, Vegan Ramen Noodles.

Year of Curiosity vegan ramen noodles
Vegan ramen noodles as shared on my other Instagram site

Fridays are travel related posts on Cindy Goes Beyond

What does one write about, when travel is restricted? I choose to revisit countries and cities, in my memory and in photos, and write fun stories about those places.

In my notebook I keep a list of possible travel stories and topics and add to those as ideas pop into my head. I’ve not run out of things to write about, nor will I. Read this 2020 post Fun British Phrases and What They Mean.

Year of Curiosity in Review British phrases
An example of a travel post

I also go on at least one road trip a month, visiting places in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas. My little travel mascot that I adopted this year, VW Van Ferni, accompanies me. I snap a photo of her wherever we go. Greg often travels with me too. We wear masks, except when outdoors, and follow social distancing as we explore.

A trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee postponed until next year and my solo trip to Edinburgh for the Christmas Market canceled. These local road trips help ease my desire to travel while sharpening my travel writing skills. And I enjoy new experiences in my own area. Check out Philbrook Museum Gardens, Ferni’s debut trip.

Ferni at Philbrook Museum
Year of Curiosity in Review – Ferni at Philbrook Museum Gardens in Tulsa, OK

These posts from this year are special to me

The following 2020 posts are worth mentioning.

My Favorite Post: Dropping Keys – I enjoy writing all of my posts. This one, however, is my favorite this year and holds a special place in my heart.

Post I’m Most Proud Of: Fix Her Crown Award – this one means a lot to me as it honors women who walk alongside other women and fix their crowns, without calling attention to their deeds. I created the award because my post Fix Her Crown continually brings in readers.

Most Viewed Post of 2020: This gardening post, Growing Clematis Babies, continues to bring in tons of traffic. I wrote it two years ago and yet it’s consistently my top post. So far it’s had more than 60,000 views. My most viewed post written in 2020 is Dropping Keys followed closely by Fix Her Crown.

Year of Curiosity in Review dripping keys
Year of Curiosity in Review – my favorite post

The Next Adventure

I can’t label this year as bad. Different? Yes. Stressful at times? Yes. Divisive? Oh yes. Full of opportunities, joys and blessings? Also yes. And it did deliver sharp clarity about many things that helped me to cast a bigger vision. I let go of much this year…beliefs, fears, assumptions and people. But I gained some of the most profound experiences of my life. For all of these things, I’m grateful.

Do I feel trepidation about the coming year? After all, the end of the calendar year doesn’t mean an end to COVID or chaos or growing pains or division. However, I feel no anxiety about what’s next.

A new year brings fresh perspectives, amazing opportunities and intriguing experiences. I enter 2021 with an open heart and excitement about my theme, symbol and song. I’ll share more about those in January.

2020, I thank you for the lessons and the blessings. You shaped me and helped me let go of that which no longer serves me. 2021, I welcome you. The Year of the Wild Woman is here.

2021 Wild Woman

 

 

Check out some favorite products from 2020:

 


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It’s a Wonderful Life at the Coleman Theatre

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Two weekends ago, I needed to visit a place in Oklahoma that I had not visited before. I drew out this unique activity as part of my 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday celebrations. Check out Holiday Flair to see the date I drew this activity.

Because of snow in the forecast, I decided to stay fairly close to Joplin. I live in southwest Missouri in the four state area, with Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas all within miles of Joplin. Looking for places nearby, that I had not visited before, I came upon the Coleman Theatre Beautiful, in Miami, Oklahoma.

A mere 33 miles from Joplin, the location seemed perfect. And I’d never been to the Coleman Theatre although I’ve always wanted to see it. Perfect again. Checking their website, I found that daily tours are available. Even better, a classic Christmas movie that I love was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, December 12. It was a one time showing. Snow or no snow, I committed to going by purchasing a ticket online.

I was going to It’s a Wonderful Life at the Coleman Theatre.

Its a Wonderful Life at the Coleman Theatre title meme

Coleman Theatre History

Located on Route 66, in the northeastern town of Miami, Oklahoma, the Coleman Theatre Beautiful attracts visitors from around the world. George L. Coleman Sr. built the vaudeville theatre, which opened on April 18, 1929. Opening night packed the house with 1,600 people who paid $1.00 each for a ticket.

The theatre features a Spanish Mission Revival style exterior with an elegant Louis XV interior. One can find gargoyles, cherubs, dolphins and faces throughout the facility. And the theatre is home to the “Mighty Wurlitzer” an organ built in 1928 and delivered for installation in February 1929. The Wurlitzer is the only grand organ of its time that still resides in its original home.

The Coleman eventually transitioned from a vaudeville theatre only to a movie theatre too. In its long history, the Coleman’s door have never closed. Movies still play there and performers take the stage. Stars at the Coleman include Will Rogers, Bing Cosby, Jim Thorpe and the magician Harry Blackstone.

The Coleman’s mission is to provide quality arts and educational programming while maintaining and promoting the historical significance of the theatre. Programs range from ballets and operas to jazz and dance bands. Occasionally they show silent movies with the Mighty Wurlitzer providing the music and sound effects.

Coleman Theatre Exterior
It’s a Wonderful Life at the Coleman Theatre – Spanish Colonial Mission exterior

It’s a Wonderful Life at the Coleman Theatre

It did indeed snow on the Sunday of my road trip, however in my area accumulation was very light. I left home early enough to drive cautiously and arrive well before the movie so I could explore the theatre. Masks were required in the theatre and attendees were required to social distance. With so many seats available, on the ground floor and mezzanine, social distancing was not a problem.

Take a tour of this gorgeous building with me.

Celebrity Park

As I approach the entrance to the theatre, I pass the Celebrity Park. This pretty little courtyard features benches and a fountain. On the exterior wall of the building is the Wall of Fame.

This area recognizes people with ties to the community who have achieved high levels of professional accomplishment and who have contributed to the community. I didn’t walk into the courtyard although I pause to take a photo. I believe there are pictures on the Wall of Fame and information about each person honored.

Celebrity Park Coleman Theatre
It’s a Wonderful Life at the Coleman Theatre – Celebrity Park

Coleman Theatre Lobby

Walking into the lobby, I am immediately struck by the splendor of the Coleman. The plush, dark burgundy carpet, the sparkling glass lights, the dark wood with gold trim all contribute to the elegance of the interior.

Concessions are sold behind a single counter in the front lobby, at a refreshingly reasonable price. Sodas and popcorn are cheap, as are candy bars. A cup of hot apple cider is $2.00. Homemade cookies sell for $1 each. I pick up a cup of hot cider to sip on during the movie.

The interior is beautifully decorated for Christmas in November and December. I chat with the ticket man and pick up my souvenir ticket. There are photos from the theatre’s early days, models of the building and a guest book to sign. As I slowly walk the long hallway off of the lobby I think of the Paris Opera House and Phantom of the Opera. The interior reminds me of that building’s grandeur, on a smaller scale.

Front lobby at the Coleman Theatre
Front lobby in the Coleman Theatre
Gold Statue in the Coleman Lobby
It’s a Wonderful Life at the Coleman Theatre – gold statue in the lobby

The Coleman Theatre Mezzanine

Climbing the stairs to the mezzanine, I look over the railing into the lobby and hallway below. Two entrances lead into the gorgeous theatre room at ground level and two open into the upstairs balcony but I’m not ready to find a seat yet.

There are seating areas on the mezzanine with lamps creating inviting pools of light. I could easily sit with a book and simply enjoy the warm ambiance.

Restrooms for men and women are available on both floors.

Up to the Coleman Theatre mezzanine
Up the stairs to the mezzanine
Looking down from the Coleman Theatre
It’s a Wonderful Life at the Coleman Theatre – looking down from the mezzanine
Seating area on the mezzanine
Welcoming seating area on the Coleman mezzanine

The Coleman Balcony

Many people seem inclined to find a seat in the balcony. I climb down to the railing so I can snap photos before the movie starts.

The view from the balcony is indeed magnificent. The stage is grand with its dark burgundy curtains and gold trim. Christmas decorations add a festive feel on stage. These are removed before the movie starts.

That’s the Mighty Wurlitzer on the left. Box seats flank the stage and continue up one interior wall.

Looking up I spy the grand chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Now I’m really thinking of Phantom of the Opera and that Paris Opera House. It’s so beautiful.

Looking down to the stage from the balcony
Looking down from the Coleman Theatre to the stage
Grand chandelier
Grand chandelier in the Coleman

The Coleman Theatre Room

As the time for the start of the movie nears, I choose to sit downstairs in the main theatre room.

I find a seat in the center of the room, near the back. People spread out, in family groups and couples and single viewers, leaving plenty of space for social distancing.

I sipped my hot apple cider and talk with the family sitting several rows in front of me. They have not seen It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart. Their excitement is contagious. I’ve seen the movie many times however it’s been at least six years since my last viewing.

The lights dim, the movie starts….and yet no sound accompanies the film! Someone behind me jokes that perhaps this classic was a silent movie. It turns out that a new sound system was installed in the theatre a few days before this showing. There’s a minor glitch however a tech person comes to our rescue.

While sound is restored, a friendly and knowledgeable staff person provides history about the Coleman. We even get to hear a couple of songs from the Mighty Wurlitzer and the entire audience sings Christmas carols together. I truly don’t mind the delay.

In a short time It’s a Wonderful Life begins, with sound, and I sit back to enjoy the movie.

The Coleman stage from ground level
It’s a Wonderful Life at the Coleman Theatre – stage at ground level
My view of the Wurlitzer from my seat
My view of the Wurlitzer from my seat

I’ll Visit Again

What a moving experience, to watch this heart warming Christmas movie in such a beautiful place. I loved it so much that I’ll return for other movies and performances.

The theatre emits such interesting energy. Yes, it’s supposedly haunted. According to stories, at least  three ghosts roam the Coleman: a former projectionist whose bay rum cologne gives away his presence, a whistling spirit in the basement, which once housed a crematorium, and ghosts near the dressing rooms off stage. I did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary. My spider sense only picked up on warm, tingly energy of the good kind. I felt settled and happy in the Coleman, a testament to many years of joyous entertainment and wonderful experiences.

The theatre hosts the Sunny Side Film Festival in March. It’s a competitive event for filmmakers and screenwriters as well as songwriters, musicians, photographers and poets…and their independent films. I look forward to a fun weekend at the Coleman Theatre Beautiful, watching indie films in a lovely setting.

If you live in the four state area, check out the Coleman’s website for upcoming events! I just might see you there.

Enjoying my visit to the Coleman Theatre
Enjoying my visit to the Coleman Theatre Beautiful

Watch It’s a Wonderful Life on Amazon. Click photo below.

 

 

Stories to Tell

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Although 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday sounds like a LOT of activities to cross off, the time seems to fly by. This year I have a little more than two months of experiences and activities to complete and yet, six weeks in it’s time for my third update.

I’ve noticed that a definite theme seems to arise, around the slips of paper that I draw for the activities. A month ago, the activities centered around Holiday Flair. The last two weeks, the theme is Stories to Tell.

I placed three blog post related activities in the jar…and drew out all three within days of each other. Other activities tell their own stories as well. Come check out the tales these experiences tell.

Stories to Tell title meme

Stories to Tell

As I’ve done in the last two birthday updates, I’m listing each activity on the day I drew the folded slip of paper out of the jar. And I’m sharing some of the activities and adding whether they are completed or in process.

12/8/2020 Pick a song for 2021 (completed)

Every year, I select a word/theme, symbol and song for the year. Or rather, those things pick me. Through repetition and synchronicities, I discover what my word/theme, symbol and song are. This year, for example, my word is curiosity, my symbol is the key and my song, “How Far I’ll Go”.

My word/theme, symbol and song carry great significance for me, especially as I enter the new year. They provide a roadmap of sorts, for the year ahead.

My theme for 2021 is wild woman and my symbol is the moon. I’m very excited about the upcoming journey and I’ll share much more about the theme and symbol soon. The song for the year is always the last component to arrive. When I selected this birthday activity out of the jar, it was more about an increased awareness around what my song for 2021 is, not a search for one.

And the song that revealed itself to me, in multiple ways during the last two weeks is….drumroll….”Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys. This song means a lot to me for many reasons and I’m thrilled to claim it as my song for 2021. I’ll explain why it’s the perfect song for me and share the stories in a future blog post.

Stories to Tell Girl on Fire
Stories to Tell – song for 2021 Girl on Fire

12/9/2020 Write a post about a topic I’ve not written about before (in process)

12/10/2020 Plan a solo trip to Edinburgh for Christmas Market (completed)

Sadly, this trip was originally scheduled for this month. My intention to do my first international solo trip to a city I dearly love didn’t happen because of the pandemic. Not only is a flight to Scotland out of the question currently, the Christmas Market AND Hogmanay both canceled.

I spent a fun afternoon, however, planning out a seven day solo trip to Edinburgh during the Christmas season. I’m not sure when I’ll get to enjoy that trip but it’s all planned out! And the stories about the anticipated trip are already spinning in my imagination.

Stories to Tell Edinburgh Christmas Market
Stories to Tell – Edinburgh Christmas Market

12/11/2020 Reach out to one or two older women who shine as their glorious selves for interviews and share on the blog (not completed)

12/12/2020 Only eat fruit for a day (completed)

I enjoyed meals and snacks made from only fruit for a day…and I was also glad to only do that for one day! This time of year I appreciate hot cooked meals! Fruit only for the day was a nice change up and challenge though.

The day started with a huge fruit smoothie. I dined on orange, avocado and green olives for lunch and ate a mixed fresh fruit salad for dinner. Snacks consisted of sliced Honeycrisp apples.

Because my curiosity led me to research which foods are actually fruits and which are vegetables…the answer is surprising…I birthed a fun blog post for Journey With Healthy Me.

Stories to Tell fruit only for a day
Stories to Tell – fruit only for a day

12/13/2020 Write a blog post featuring wild women that I admire (in process)

12/14/2020 Eat the rainbow for a day (completed)

I admit I enjoyed this activity a bit more than the fruit only day simply because I included cooked food. Although I’m plant based and eat a variety of nutritious, colorful food, I focused this day on getting as many colorful foods as possible. Truly, this is an excellent daily intention for these wonderful foods help create amazing stories about my health.

Stories to Tell eat the rainbow
Stories to Tell – eat the rainbow

12/15/2020 Find an Online Art/Crafts Class (completed)

Browsing for something fun, artsy and different, I stumbled upon a YouTube video series called 5 Minute Crafts. These projects are clever and easy to complete in a short amount of time. Although I have not completed a project yet, I did find and watch the series of videos.

Check out DIY Phone Cases to Make in No Time

Online class
Stories to Tell – online art/crafts class

12/16/2020 Meditate for 63 minutes (not competed)

12/17/2020 Request an application for the writer’s residency at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland (completed)

This activity needs little explanation, if you know me at all. The writer’s residency is for 30 days, all meals and accommodations provided, at a beautiful castle south of Edinburgh. I’ll jump at any opportunity or excuse to visit Scotland. Staying in a castle is icing on the cake…vegan cake of course ;-). Imagine the stories I’d craft from the experience.

This residency requires a written request for an application. I don’t know what the requirements are, exactly, however I think the writer must have a published book. All the more incentive to get my book finished!

Stories to Tell writers residency
Stories to Tell – writer’s residency in a Scottish castle

12/18/2020 Design, on paper, a wild woman outfit (in process)

12/19/2020 Wear a temporary tattoo (completed)

One of the easiest and most fun activities so far, I’ve enjoyed sporting a tattoo this week…a temporary one, that is. I ordered a packet of temporary tattoos from Amazon. When they arrived I sorted through the many options and settled on a tiny key. Why? The key is my symbol for this year and represents curiosity unlocking doors to opportunities and adventures.

The application process was simple and I must say I’ve loved wearing this small tattoo on my right wrist. I look at it often and smile. It reminds me that curiosity truly is the key to ongoing journeys and growth. Plus it brings to mind the poem that I love, Dropping Keys. It’s so important to me, to keep dropping those keys to the “beautiful, rowdy prisoners”.

And yes, I’m seriously considering getting a permanent key tattoo.

12/20/2020 Wear clothes backwards for a day (not completed)

12/21/2020 Visit a place in Missouri I’ve not visited before (not completed)

On the Homestretch

As I passed the halfway point, on my way to my 63rd birthday, I paused to reflect. Although they bring extra activities into my day that require thought, time and resources, I value these experiences. They teach me so much about trust and about myself.

The activities stretch me, move me ever beyond comfort zones and show me how much I am capable of. It’s not really the end result that matters so much. For example, my chances of getting into the writer’s residency in Scotland are slim. However it is the putting myself out there, the striving, the trying new things that matters. All these experiences tell stories about me and who I am and where I am headed.

Please, though, if you see me shopping at Wal-Mart wearing my clothes backwards, don’t take any photos!

Temporary key tattoo
Wearing a temporary key tattoo

Fun Finds from Amazon:

 


 

 

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