Road to the Lemon Grove

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A couple of months ago, I received info about a film set in Italy. I had opportunities to watch clips and listen in on interviews. I knew this film would go onto my “watch list” as soon as it became available. Perhaps because of my trip to Italy or perhaps because of the soulful journey in the story, I felt drawn to see Road to the Lemon Grove.

Now available for rent or purchase, I spent an afternoon viewing this comedy/drama. And I was right to anticipate it. I enjoyed this movie!

Road to the Lemon Road title meme

Road to the Lemon Grove Cast

The cast of Road to the Lemon Grove includes Burt Young, Rossella Brescia, Nick Mancuso and Charly Chiarelli.

Dale Hildebrand directs and co-wrote the screenplay with Chiarelli.

The film is unrated (I give it a PG-13 for mild language and brief nudity) and has a run time of 1 hour and 28 minutes.

Road to the Lemon Grove Calogero
Road to the Lemon Grove – Calogero Contatini

The Journey Home

Antonio Contatini (dual role by Chiarelli) stands before heaven’s gates, impatient for admittance. To his consternation, the old man discovers that his mission on Earth isn’t quite finished.

Before he can enter heaven, Antonio must make amends with his son, Calogero (also Chiarelli) and help settle a long running feud in the family. This mission proves difficult, as Calogero doesn’t want anything to do with his father, dead or alive. He wants his father’s spirit to leave him alone.

And Calogero, who is a university professor teaching linguistics, is just as cautious with his late mother’s side of the family. With Antonio gone, Calogero’s uncle Vincent (Young) and the rest of his mother’s family plot to take the lemon grove that they all left behind when they moved from Sicily, Italy.

Antonio lures Calogero back to Sicily, making his son promise to scatter his ashes in the lemon grove.

Road to the Lemon Grove ashes
Road to the Lemon Grove – father’s ashes

Love and Redemption Italian Style

Calogero reluctantly takes his father’s ashes to Sicily. He left Italy with his parents as a baby. His parents never returned home and Calogero experiences Italy for the first time.

As he drives to the tiny town where relatives on both sides of his family still live, he is struck by the beauty of his home country. He pauses to swim in the Mediterranean and thoughtfully walk along narrow streets in small villages. Calogero even bumps into his Italian movie star crush, Maria (Brescia). His ghostly father tries to set the two up, thinking it will make his son happy. The results are hilariously disastrous. However, Calogero and Maria become friends and she accompanies him to scatter the ashes in the lemon grove.

As Calogero travels deeper into the heart and soul of his homeland, Vincent’s son, Guido (Mancuso), arrives to prevent his cousin from claiming the inheritance. Vincent wants the grove and intends sell it. He isn’t afraid to use any means necessary to do so.

The final family confrontation comes down to an elaborate Italian meal and a walk to the lemon grove, where miracles sometimes happen.

Road to the Lemon Grove supper
Road to the Lemon Grove – sharing a meal

My Thoughts on Road to the Lemon Grove

I enjoyed this humorous film. At first it seemed LOUD to me, the way the Italian characters are portrayed. However, I quickly settled into the flow of the story and came to appreciate the intense dialogue and hand gesturing.

I love that Calogero’s classroom teachings about language and culture weave into the storyline, with reminders that America is built on the backs of immigrants from many countries, including Italy. And I savored the Italian landscapes, village streets and structures. There is such beauty throughout Italy. When I visited, we didn’t make it as far south as Sicily. I’d love to experience that region someday.

There are important messages shared in Road to the Lemon Grove, about family, love, culture, forgiveness and redemption. I noticed that as Calogero progresses closer to his family’s home village, he literally sheds his western clothes and persona. After stepping naked into the Mediterranean, he emerges reborn. He leaves most of his clothes behind…the overcoat, suit jacket and tie…traveling onward in a simple shirt and trousers. I love the symbolism.

Road to the Lemon Grove Calogero and Maria
Road to the Lemon Grove – Calogero and Maria

How to Watch This Movie

Currently Road to the Lemon Grove is available for rent or purchase on Amazon. You can get a free Amazon Prime Video trial HERE.

Rent or purchase the movie through this LINK.

And Road to the Lemon Grove is also available to rent on iTunes.

If you watch this warm, funny, soulful film, let me know what you think!

You might also enjoy this review of Emma and this one, Where’d You Go Bernadette.

Movie Poster

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.

In The Heights

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

How exciting, as movie theaters open back up, to experience a fun summer musical! I had the opportunity to attend a virtual screening for In The Heights ahead of its release date. This movie, though, deserves a big screen viewing!

I happily returned to my local theater, for the first time in over a year, for the thrill of watching this amazing musical as it’s meant to be watched.

Check out my review for In The Heights and then enjoy the first big hit of the summer in a theater near you.

In The Heights title meme

In The Heights Cast

This film version of the Broadway musical stars Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Berrara, Olga Merediz, Jimmy Smits, Gregory Diaz IV and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

In The Heights is directed by Jon M. Chu. The screenplay is based on the musical and music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Quiara Alegria Hudes contributed to the concept and the screenplay.

The musical carries a PG-13 rating, for mild language and suggestive references, and has a run time of 2 hours and 23 minutes.

In The Heights dance
In The Heights – get ready to dance!

In The Heights Synopsis

The movie focuses on the lives of a variety of people living in northern Manhattan. Washington Heights, referred to simply as “The Heights”, contains small mom and pop shops, thriving and struggling businesses and generations of families.

Dreams of all kinds thrive in this close knit community too. Meet the dreamers and those who encourage them.

Usnavi

At the heart of The Heights is Usnavi (Ramos), who runs a little neighborhood bodega. Everyone in the community stops by every morning for coffee and perhaps a lottery ticket. Usnavi sells both while offering encouraging words of advice.

Usnavi nurtures a sueñito, a little dream he’s carried since his childhood. He dreams of purchasing and reviving his deceased father’s beach café in Dominican Republic. After saving and scrimping for years, it seems that Usnavi’s dream is finally within reach.

Usnavi’s younger cousin, Sonny (Diaz IV), helps in the bodega and pushes his cousin to ask Vanessa out. Sonny dreams of going to college, a difficult sueñito to fulfill as his family cannot afford it and the boy is an undocumented immigrant.

In The Heights Usnavi
In The Heights – Usnavi and Vanessa

Vanessa

Vanessa (Barrera), is Usnavi’s love interest, although she doesn’t know that. She works at the neighborhood salon. However the salon is relocating to the Bronx, due to increasing rent. Vanessa’s sueñito is to rent her own apartment downtown and become a fashion designer.

Her dream gets an immediate setback when her application for the apartment is denied, due to a lack of credit.

Kevin Rosario and His Daughter Nina

Kevin (Smits) owns and operates the neighborhood taxi company. He employs Benny (Hawkins). Nina (Grace) returns home from her first year at Stanford. She is fulfilling her father’s dream. However, Nina comes home to tell him that she’s dropping out of college due to loneliness and financial strains. Nina misses The Heights and feels out of place at Stanford.

Kevin sold off half of the building he owns, to pay for Nina’s college education. He is not easily deterred from seeing his daughter graduate from Stanford.

Benny loves Nina. With him, Nina finds life simpler. However, she worries about the future and struggles with self doubt. Benny reminds her of what’s important and tells her that she is destined for greatness.

In The Heights Benny, Nina and Kevin
In The Heights – Benny, Nina and Kevin

Abuela Claudia

The matriarch of the neighborhood, Abuela (Merediz) took Usnavi in as a boy and raised him. While not actually related to him, this kind and wise woman serves as his… and everyone’s…abuela. She remembers her childhood in Cuba, where she and her mother lived in poverty.

In New York, Claudia endured hardships and overcame challenges to get to where she is today. Her role is to encourage everyone else to pursue their dreams and never give up. Abuela’s favorite words are “paciencia y fe”…”patience and faith”.

In The Heights Abuela
In The Heights – the matriarch, Abuela Claudia

A Summer to Remember

In The Heights, summer brings record breaking temperatures. The whole neighborhood closes down early one day and everyone heads to the community pool to cool off.

On the way there, Usnavi learns that one of the lottery tickets the bodega sold won $96,000. When he shares the exciting news, the whole neighborhood goes wild, each person imaging what he or she could do with that money.

The heat continues. Mr. Piraguero (Miranda), who sells snow cones, sadly sings about how the new ice cream truck in the neighborhood is stealing his business.

A black out occurs, due to the extreme heat, and the whole neighborhood shuts down for days. It’s a breaking point for some…and a time of shift and change for others…and a time for making dreams come true for a few, in unexpected ways.

Summer In The Heights
Hot summer In The Heights

My Thoughts About In The Heights

As stated, this movie is a musical, which is one of my favorite genres. The characters sing much of the dialogue. And they dance too!

I love this musical. It beautifully showcases the richness of the Latin culture through music and dance. And it shines a brilliant light on the importance of family, community and encouraging one another toward the realization of dreams.

Those themes thrill me. As a dreamer myself, I love watching the different characters discover more about who they are as dreams shift, change and manifest. I appreciate the closeness of the community and how generations of people pave the way for each new generation.

This is such a fun film. I can’t help but smile and tap my foot over the musical numbers.  The movie goers in my theater applauded with me at the end.

We all have dreams. The time has come. Let In The Heights inspire you to keep pursuing yours. Catch it at your local theater or on HBOMax.

Time Has Come

Did you enjoy this review? Check out this one too: Nomadland

Get the In The Heights movie soundtrack 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.

It’s Time for Summer with Decocrated

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

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

Do you know what time it is? It’s time for summer with Decocrated!

In spite of May’s cool, rainy days I know summer is almost here. I know because my Decocrated Summer Box arrived, in a cheery, bright yellow carton. It provided the inspiration I needed to bring summer vibes into my home.

May brought lots of cool spring weather AND days full of exciting opportunities for me, as a blogger. I’ve never experienced such a busy May. It was fun to set aside a day to unpack my Decocrated box and go into puttering mode.

Puttering is spending time in a relaxed way doing small tasks. I excel at puttering around. And in one afternoon I reset my home, from spring to summer.

It’s still raining today. However, inside my house, summer is here!

It's Time for Summer with Decocrated title meme

Decocrated Summer 2021 Box

If you’ve never heard of Decocrated Curated Home, check out my initial review HERE. This subscription box company specializes in curating home decor that mixes brilliantly with what you already own and use. The boxes arrive to your front door four times a year, in time for each new season.

Plus Decocrated members have access to the online Decoshop and add-on boxes that come out around holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter. There’s a brand new Americana box on its way to me now!

As summer arrives, after the strangest 14 months in recent history, we can bee-lieve it’s going to “bee” sensational! The Decocrated Summer Box celebrates with warm yellows and cool blues that bring the summer vibes.

This sweet box combines bees and hints of lemon, cherry woods, black metals, handwoven textiles and bright patterns. Kim Nevo is summer’s Deco Creator.

Check out this short unboxing video…and then let’s decorate!

 

Bringing Summer Into the House

I’ve enjoyed the Decocrated boxes for almost two years. What I love about this home decor company are these two things:

One, all the pieces work with each other, with items from previous boxes (with the exception of a few very specific holiday pieces) and with my own decorating style and decor items.

And two, receiving the new pieces challenges me to create something different, something fresh. I love such challenges. If I do what I’ve always done, I get what I’ve always had. Decocrated pushes me to try new things, decorate with pieces in interesting ways and “go beyond”…which is what I’m all about. Getting creative ramps up the decorating fun.

Here’s where the summer box pieces found a home.

Summer Lumbar Pillow Cover

Most Decocrated boxes contain a seasonal pillow cover. What a simple way to freshen a corner of the room, changing out pillow covers.

The fun bee and lemon print on the lumbar pillow cover shifts the mood in my cozy corner on the sofa. Paired with last summer’s yellow pillow cover, it brings the spirit of the outdoors into the living room. The wooden and metal tray, from winter 2019 , holds gardening books and a miniature watering can.

It's Time for Summer with Decocrated pillows
It’s Time for Summer with Decocrated – pillows

Wall Ledge

This ledge is perfect for holding small keepsakes, bathroom toiletries or a seasonal vignette.

I really needed something to hold my wee treasures from Scotland. My bedroom is intentionally evolving into an extremely supportive space that contains messages and symbols that carry significance for me.

Mounted beneath my tapestry from Thirlestane Castle, in the Scottish Borders, this shelf is the ideal size for an assortment of favorite items from that beautiful country.

It's Time for Summer with Decocrated shelf
It’s Time for Summer with Decocrated –  wall ledge

Wooden Bee

Designed to hang on the wall, layer up with other items, or prop against anything…this bee can literally flit around the house and fit in anywhere.

For now, my bee is nestled inside my rustic wire and wood box, on a shelf in the dining room. Here in this box, the cutout reminds me of a bee resting on a screen door. How summer time is that?!

It's Time for Summer with Decocrated bee
It’s Time for Summer with Decocrated – wooden bee

Double Sided Art Print

The double sided art print features a bee on one side and a quote on the other. It’s perfectly presented on the clip frame that arrived in the spring box. On a whim, I can flip the art print over to the “I love you like bees love honey” side.

The perpetual calendar is from the winter box. I happened upon the JUST BEE sign at Hobby Lobby. It’s perfect for this little grouping in the dining room bookcase. After I took a set of photos, I decided to add a yellow and white checked linen. It gives the shelf a pop of color, with all the wood elements.

It's Time for Summer with Decocrated just bee
It’s Time for Summer with Decocrated – art print
It's Time for Summer with Decocrated just bee 2
It’s Time for Summer with Decocrated – full shelf

Table Clock, Wooden Arch and Boho Basket

The vignettes on the small bookcase are my favorites this season.

I love the black metal table clock. Hanging on a faux leather strap, the clock brings to mind a large pocket watch. It looks wonderful grouped with the wooden arch with black accent pieces and the black metal candle holder from spring 2020. This versatile clock will show up in many places in my house, in the upcoming months.

The woven basket from fall 2020 balances out the top shelf. I’ve found myself drawn to muted neutrals lately. I’ll use the black and grey fringed runner beneath the vignette year around.

On the second shelf, the new boho basket is made from natural materials with a dark blue accent edge. I tipped it on its side and layered in a rolled Decocrated wrap and some linens. On the other side of the shelf, those black metal lanterns from last year’s Halloween box still bring me joy. I dropped a couple of tea lights into them. They are two of my favorite Decocrated items.

It's Time for Summer with Decocrated happy
It’s Time for Summer with Decocrated – happy vignette

What Time is it at Your House?

Is it time for summer yet, in your house? Or is it time for some fresh decor?

Click this link to get your Summer Box now. Use my code CINDYM15 to save $15 off the seasonal box or a yearly subscription.

What’s your favorite Decocrated summer item? And where would it go in your home? I’d love to see your summer decor.

Decocrated Summer 2021 Box

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Decocrated Curated Home. I may earn a commission for items purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Nomadland

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

The Academy Awards aired last night, April 25, two months later than normal. And as I have since my toddler days, I watched with rapt attention as Oscars were handed out.

My intention to write a review for the winner of the Best Picture category involved some faith. This year, due to the unusual circumstances surrounding the film industry because of COVID, I saw six of the nine nominated movies. Typically I watch all of them. With theater closures and most of the films on different streaming services, I felt fortunate to see six of them!

Happily Nomadland, the Oscar winner, ranked among the films I viewed.

Nomadland title meme

Nomadland Cast

Nomadland stars Frances McDormand and David Strathairn. Most of the rest of the cast, including Linda May, Bob Wells and Charlene Swankie, are actual nomads or locals.

This drama is based on the non-fiction book by the same name, written by Jessica Bruder. Director Chloe Zhao also wrote the screenplay. The film carries an R rating, for mild adult themes, and has a run time of 1 hour and 47 minutes.

Nomadland received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography. It won for Best Picture, Best Actress (McDormand) and Best Director (Zhao).

Becoming a Nomad

Fern (McDormand), a woman in her 60s, finds herself without a home. Following the death of her husband and the economic collapse of the company town they lived in, Fern stays in the tract house they shared, until she’s forced out.

With no place to go, Fern stores most of her belongings, purchases a second hand van and embarks on a journey. She travels from state to state, town to town, looking for employment. Fern lives life on the fringes of society, a nomad without roots.

Nomadland on the road

Nomadland nomads
Nomadland – friends and nomads, Fern and Linda May

Finding Community

While working a seasonal job at an Amazon fulfillment center, Fern befriends Linda May, a nomad who invites her to a desert gathering. There Fern meets Dave (Strathairn), a fellow traveler, and Bob Wells, who provides a support system and a community for nomads.

This group of sincere and self reliant souls teach Fern survival skills and rules for the road. No one in the group stays in one place for long. Soon it’s just Fern and an older woman named Swankie left in the desert campsite.

The two women develop a friendship as Swankie teaches Fern more self sufficiency skills. Before she too hits the road again, Swankie reveals that she has cancer. However, she assures Fern that she’s lived a good life, traveling the country. The sights she’s seen and the experiences she embraced make her feel like she’s done enough. Her life is complete.

Nomadland swankie
Nomadland – Swankie

The Nomad Life

At her next job, as camp host at an RV park with Linda May, Fern reconnects with Dave. The two find their relationship comforting, if a bit awkward at times.

Through long conversations, Fern convinces Dave to visit his son, and meet his daughter-in-law and new grandson. Although Dave invites Fern to accompany him, she refuses. The two part ways.

When her rusty old van breaks down, requiring funds for repairs, Fern is forced to visit her own family. Her sister and brother-in-law live very different lives. To an observer, Fern’s family is successful and well situated. To Fern, after a year of the nomad life, her sister’s life is stifling. The time spent in her sister’s cozy home creates a longing, however, for connection. Is she missing out by constantly moving from location to location and spending so much time alone?

Fern accepts an invitation to spend the holidays with Dave and his family. It’s a lovely time with good people. However, is she ready to settle into a “normal” life? Or is the call of the open road too strong?

Nomadland friends
Nomadland – Fern and Dave

My Thoughts About Nomadland

Initially, I felt drawn to this film because of the nomad lifestyle. Who hasn’t dreamed of taking off in an outfitted van, to explore the country? I actually follow several #vanlife accounts on Instagram and the photos they share of their adventures are inspiring. The beauty of that nomadic lifestyle creates a longing in me.

What Nomadland shows is the other side of such a lifestyle. For some, the nomadic life is forced upon them. Those individuals find it cheaper to live on the road and in free campsites rather than in traditional homes. Some older adults discover they can’t survive on monthly social security checks. Instead, they travel from job opportunity to job opportunity, working for a season and then moving on, for as long as they are able to.

Nomadland highlights a different kind of beauty, a stark one, found in solitude and community, living simply and sharing what you have. The nomads don’t post glamourous photos. They survive, one day at a time. And they help each other whenever they “meet down the road”. There’s rawness in the nomadic lifestyle, as portrayed in this film, along with courage and honesty.

Deserving of the Oscar Win

Does Nomadland deserve the Oscar for Best Picture? Yes, I believe it does even though I feel like The Father was deserving too, for very different reasons.

Therefore, see both movies. Let them unsettle you, stir your compassion and open your eyes to different realities. Let the struggles that others endure shift your perspectives and broaden your views. Both films did that for me.

If you’ve seen Nomadland, let me know your thoughts about the movie, in the comments below!

Nomadland - travel

Going Farther

Pick up a copy of the book by Jessica Bruder HERE.

Or purchase the movie, as a download, with this LINK.

Nomadland is also showing in select theaters across the US.

 

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.

 

 

The Father

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

It’s one of my favorite times of year…award season! The Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards presented their top picks in cinema. The Academy Awards air at the end of the month, on April 25.

Although it’s been anything but a typical year for the movie industry, I’m following my usual practice of watching the Best Nominated Films ahead of the Oscars. What a sweet joy to view The Father at Bookhouse Cinema recently, rather than at home on a streaming service. I loved the experience, which felt amazing after viewing only two films at a theater last year.

The darkened theater experience, combined with the incredibly moving story of this film, deeply impacted me. I’m still thinking about this movie.

This is the Best Picture Nominated film, The Father.

The Father title meme

The Father Cast

This drama stars Anthony Hopkins, Oliva Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots and Rufus Sewell. The Father, which has a run time of 1 hour and 37 minutes, is directed by Florian Zeller and carries a PG-13 rating for occasional strong language and adult themes.

The Father earned six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor for Hopkins, Best Supporting Actress for Colman, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Production Design.

The Father argument
Father and daughter trying to understand each other, in The Father.

The Father Storyline

Anthony (Hopkins), an 84 year old man, lives alone in his beautiful London flat. His daughter Anne (Colman) works and enjoys her independent life while stopping by frequently to check on her father.

However, the frequency of her visits increases as first one and then another of her father’s caretakers quit. Anthony doesn’t believe he needs assistance. Unconvinced, Anne notes that her father sometimes appears confused or forgetful. Daily, it seems, Anthony misplaces his watch, then accuses one of the caretakers of stealing it.

Anthony oscillates between confusion one moment and belligerence about giving up his flat the next, leading Anne to make the difficult decision to move him into her place.

The Father Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins as the father.
The Father Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman as the daughter.

A Confusing World

Although Anne spends more time with her father, due to his close proximity, Anthony’s perception of reality continues to deteriorate.

He finds it difficult to sort out timelines. To him, Anne appears younger some days and older others. Strangers appear in the flat and just as quickly disappear. One minute Anne tells him she’s moving to Paris, to live with her new boyfriend  Paul (Sewell). The next, Anne’s husband James (Gatiss) appears in the front parlor, even though she claims they divorced five years ago.

Realizing she needs help, Anne hires Laura (Poots), to stay with her father during the day. When Anthony meets her, he’s struck by her resemblance to his younger daughter, Lucy (also Poots). It causes him to wonder why Lucy never visits him. He charms Laura, dancing and engaging in witty conversation, leaving Anne smiling and yet confused herself about his condition.

A doctor confirms Anne’s fears. Her father’s episodes of confusion signal the onset of dementia.

For Anthony, who insists his memory is fine, the world becomes increasingly small, confined within the walls of a flat that might be his…or might be Anne’s. And the people living with him…is this his daughter Anne? And his son-in-law? Or is that man his daughter’s boyfriend? And where is his other daughter, Lucy? Doesn’t Laura look just like Lucy?

And where, oh where, is his watch??

The Father charming Laura
The father charming Laura.
The Father telling stories
When you don’t remember details…make them up!

My Thoughts on The Father

This film had such a strong effect on me. Perhaps it’s because Greg’s mother died of Alzheimer’s and we lost her, bit by bit, long before her body wore out. Or perhaps it’s because Anthony Hopkins physically reminds me of Greg’s dad, who joined his dear wife almost six years ago. And then, my own father’s death anniversary popped up March 30…gone 11 years now. Or maybe it’s because I’m in my 60s now and cringe every time I suddenly forget a name.

The subject of dementia is a scary one for most people. And you’d expect a film about that devastating illness to be dark and depressing. It is a heavy subject, undoubtedly. However, I’m so grateful for this outstanding film.

The Father confusion
The world becomes so confusing, in The Father.

My Favorite Best Picture Film So Far

Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman both deserve their Oscar nominations. I felt completely undone by both performances, so much so that I sat quietly in my car after the movie and just felt all the emotions. And the emotions were many.

I laughed at times, delighted by Anthony’s charm, and I teared up, sympathetic to Anne’s pain and fear as her “Little Daddy” slipped away from her. Oft times, my body responded physically to what unfolded on the screen, feeling gut punched and breathless.

The Father is beautiful, edgy, difficult to watch and impossible to look away from.  Plus, it is unbelievably clever. This is the most intriguing film I’ve ever seen, about dementia. Anthony’s perspective on his confusing and ever shifting world instills in the viewer empathy and compassion for those in the grips of this horrible disease. The Father not only changes the way I perceive those with memory issues, it changes the way I respond to them.

See The Father. If you’ve ever known someone with dementia, or currently care for a loved one with this disorder, spend 97 minutes with this film. Allow it to upend your views and open your mind and soften your heart. And cry. Weep for those whose realities no longer make sense. Then offer them patience and unconditional love.

The Father daughter and little daddy
The father and his daughter.

Watch The Father at select theaters, or rent on Amazon Prime HERE.

Did you enjoy this review? Check out my review of the Bridgerton 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.

WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland

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

As a woman with Scottish roots and a deep love for the country and her people, imagine my delight when I discovered WeeBox.

This subscription box from Scotland arrives bringing carefully selected gifts designed to elicit a wee smile. Truthfully, though, I resisted the urge to subscribe initially. I wondered…was the box filled with souvenir type items? Were these things I could easily purchase on my next trip to Scotland? How wee is the WeeBox?

However, my heart, which beats faster at the sound of bagpipes, soon overruled my questioning brain. I decided to give WeeBox a try. After all, with the pandemic, when will I get to return to my beloved Scotland?

I’m glad I listened to my heart and allowed Scotland to come to me.

Check out this review of the WeeBox subscription box from Scotland.

WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland title meme

How Does the WeeBox Work?

WeeBox was founded in 2016, birthed from a deep passion to share Scotland with Scots and Scots-at-heart all over the world.

Each month this wee purple box arrives to your front door. Tucked inside are five items worth approximately 50 pounds, including a treat to eat or drink. These items are not available outside of Scotland, making them true Scottish treasures.

A personalized card accompanies the items, explaining what each one is. As a blogger, I especially appreciate this info!

The WeeBox purpose is to connect the receiver with Scotland by offering a magical, Scottish experience. The curated items convey a warm sense of Scottish pride while opening the box delivers the surprise of discovering the contents. Wee grins do ensue. In fact, my wee grin turned into an ear-to-ear smile as I unboxed the items.

WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland box
WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland – my first purple box

Supporting Scotland

The WeeBox staff hand select every item, featuring small Scotland businesses and their wares. On their blog, the ‘Support Small Scotland’ series shines a light on a different business each month, with the aim of highlighting their incredible work.

They also support various Scottish charities which is so crucial during these challenging times. Additionally, WeeBox is committed to protecting Scotland’s environment. They drive electric cars and minimize waste and single use packaging.

The purple WeeBoxes are made from 100% recycled cardboard and the postage bags are completely compostable. Currently the company continues on its journey to become carbon neutral.

WeeBox is a company I can feel good about supporting!

WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland surprises
WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland – I love that the contents are wrapped in Scottish newspaper! I enjoyed reading through those pages.

February WeeBox

Purchase boxes before the end of the month, for the upcoming month. I ordered the February box in late January. Because these wee boxes arrive from Scotland and because we are in the midst of a world wide pandemic, patience is required as the treasures travel. My WeeBox arrived in late February. I think I squealed when I saw the purple package.

The February box is titled “Scottish Romance”. Scotland is consistently voted the most romantic country in the world. The gifts in this WeeBox present a nostalgic look at Scots love and traditions.

Take a peek at what’s inside!

The Luckenbooth – Scotland’s Symbol of Love

I confess I didn’t know what the Luckenbooth was. So immediate points to WeeBox for teaching me something new.

The Luckenbooth is a Scottish symbol dating back to the 17th century. It consists of two hearts entwined, with a crown above. The design represents love and loyalty.

Typically a silver brooch, the name Luckenbooth comes from the booths or stalls on the Royal Mile that sold jewelry. Luckenbooth is the Scots word for a lockable stall.

Mary Queen of Scots gifted a Luckenbooth to Lord Darnley as a symbol of her love and devotion. The stencils in the February WeeBox allow the receiver to craft her own Luckenbooth by sprinkling powdered sugar over them to create the design on a cake.

WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland cake stencils
WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland – Luckenbooth cake stencils

Pebble People in Love

Who knew that pebbles could stir emotion? These do. The laddie sports a kilt and sporran and the lassie stretches up on tiptoe to plant a cheeky kiss.

The enclosed card shared this Old Scots quote:

“My heart you have and yours I crave.”

Awwww. This precious pair makes me smile every time I look at them.

WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland couple
WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland – pebble people

The Wee Book of Winchin’

While the pebble couple tugs at my heart, the Wee Book of Winchin’ makes me laugh!

On the back cover, the book promises: “This wee book reaches thae parts o’ yer heart tha’ ither wee books jist cannae reach,” And it’s true! The book features charming essays, stories and poems accompanied by cute drawings.

The first page begins with “May the Bagpipes o’ Happiness Be the Soundtrack Tae Yer Life”. I knew then I’d love this wee book. I’m keeping it on the table next to my favorite chair, to enjoy while I sip a cup of tea.

WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland wee book
WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland – wee book

Scottish Sweeties

These colorful Scottish sweeties remind me of a similar old fashioned hard candy that I enjoyed as a child. If I remember correctly, they appeared at Christmas time.

Using DuoLingo, I’m learning Scots Gaelic. So I love the Scottish “I love you” written on the candy package. Tha goal agam ort. I sampled one of the delicious sweeties today.

WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland sweets
WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland – Scottish sweeties

Highland Cow Sling Purse

Look at this adorable sling purse, featuring the Highland cow, or coo! These large shaggy beasts with the reddish brown coats and long horns are symbolic of the Scottish Highlands. The soft purple corduroy represents the heather that covers the hills in summer.

When I left the house this afternoon, I tucked my wallet, keys and phone into this sweet purse and slung it over one shoulder. The purse is the perfect size to hold the essentials for a day or an evening out. I love it!

WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland highland cow purse
WeeBox Subscription Box from Scotland – Highland Coo sling purse
WeeBox unboxing
WeeBox unboxed

Ready to Get Your WeeBox?

I’m thrilled with my first WeeBox. The March box is traveling to me now. It’s so fun to open the purple container and uncover the treasures within. And, I feel very connected to Scotland as I enjoy these items.

Does Scottish blood flow through your veins? Or do you love this bonnie country regardless of whether your ancestors called it home? You can receive your own WeeBox. Or you might want to gift a WeeBox to someone special.

Go to the company website HERE. From the home page subscribe…monthly or pick up a yearly subscription…or brighten someone’s day with a gift subscription. The April WeeBox is on sale now.

Also check out Blether for news and features and click WeePeek for a look at next month’s theme.

And if you subscribe, tell WeeBox the Scottish lass Cindy sent you!

Scottish Lass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated

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

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

I don’t know about you, but with the extreme winter weather we just experienced, I’m ready for spring! The actual change of seasons doesn’t happen for almost a month. However, with the arrival of my Decocrated Spring Box, I made the switch indoors.

I love spring. It’s a time of fresh beginnings and renewal after a long winter sleep. My garden begins to stir and the trees bud. Such subtle changes signal that it’s time to freshen up my home decor as well.

I’m happy to spring into renewal with Decocrated and create fresh vignettes. See what I’ve done so far.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated title meme

Decocrated Spring 2021 Box

After a winter overshadowed by the continuing pandemic and record cold temperatures, it felt so refreshing to reset my home decor this week. As if conspiring with me, warm sunshine filtered through the blinds in my big windows, making the day seem warmer than it actually was.

What a great time shaking off the winter blues as I played with the new spring pieces from this amazing subscription box.

If you’ve never heard of Decocrated Curated Home, check out my initial review HERE. This subscription box company specializes in curating home decor that mixes brilliantly with what you already own and use. The boxes arrive to your front door four times a year, in time for each new season.

The spring 2021 box features wildflowers and sentimental pieces that stir memories of springs past. The colors are soft and finishes included white washed wood and cherry wood.

This season’s featured artist is Kim Nevo, who hails from Miami, Florida. Kim’s travels inspire her art.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated unboxing
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – the unboxing. To watch the video, click HERE.

Creating Fresh Vignettes

I focused on refreshing five areas in my home, creating spring vignettes. I’m still working on a couple of new areas that I’ll share later.

Check out how I used my new spring 2021 pieces.

Cozy Corner

In one corner of my vintage sofa, I’ve created a cozy spot for reading and sipping on a cup of hot tea, no matter what the season. Honestly, I’m that person who covers up with a blanket, with the air conditioning running!

In this area, what’s new for the season is the spring floral lumbar pillow. I love the vintage looking design featuring flowers, herbs and insects. The pillowcase reverses to a soft robin egg blue side.

I paired the new pillowcase with the summer case, with features a sunny yellow design on one side and a tweedy finish on the other. I love the tweed with the spring design. The soft lightweight green throw is from the winter 2019 box. It’s perfect for all seasons.

The metal and wood tray arrived the winter 2019 box. I use that practical, pretty tray year around. Keeping with the garden theme, I plopped a couple of gardening books on the tray and topped them with a cute miniature metal watering can that my grandkids gifted to me.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated cozy corner
Spring into renewal with Deocrated – cozy corner

Tall Dining Room Bookcase

The top two shelves of the wooden bookcase in the dining room received make overs as well.

The top shelf retained the wooden lantern from the Decocrated Christmas box and the woven basket and “Our Happy Place” tabletop sign from the fall box. New are the spring botanical prints hanging on the wall. I love the simplicity and beauty of the framed prints. Aren’t they perfect?

Although there are no Decocrated pieces on the second shelf, the decor serves to show how easy it is to mix and match the sub box pieces with items I already own. That darling print in the white frame is actually a birthday card I received this year from Greg’s cousin. I love it…and her thoughtfulness.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated happy place
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – happy place

Dining Room Table

My favorite place to create vignettes, the small round dining table gets a completely new vignette, thanks to the Decocrated spring 2021 box.

I absolutely adore the WOODEN table runner! What a unique and fun decor piece. It’s sturdy, holding an assortment of items on the softly patterned surface.

Left Side of Wooden Table Runner

On the left is a clip frame, holding the postcard sized art print from the spring 2021 box. The print reverses to a soft pink print. I’m so excited about the clip frame! It’s perfect for all the art prints I’ve received in the last year+ from Decocrated.

Two of the four wooden village pieces from winter 2020 complete this end of the runner.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated postcard art
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – clip frame and postcard art

Right Side

On the right is the new spring planter. Made from metal with a wooden stand, it’s such a wonderful container to tuck a living plant into or to hold an artificial arrangement. I left my variegated ivy in a plastic flower pot and just dropped it into the planter.

The stack of wooden books, tied with beaded twine, inspires with the words “collect beautiful moments”. I almost always use a stack of actual books when creating vignettes. Decocrated included this wonderful set in the spring box.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated planter
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – spring planter and stack of wooded books

 

Hot Tea Bar and Small Bookcase

Although these next two areas do not contain pieces from the spring 2021 box, the vignettes are full of previous items from Decocrated.

I continue to enjoy the hot tea bar. Every afternoon and most mornings, year around, I enjoy a cup of hot herbal tea. I love the convenience and fun of maintaining a hot tea bar. During the cold winter months I add hot chocolate as well.

I packed away the winter decor and introduced spring to the tea bar with mostly blue and green pieces. The pink, light blue and yellow ceramic containers hold tea bags and the last of my Four Sigmatic hot cocoa.

The tall ceramic trees arrived in the winter 2019 box while the remaining two village pieces and the wooden perpetual calendar came in the winter 2020 box.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated hot tea bar
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – hot tea bar

Small Bookcase

And the small bookcase in the space between dining room and living room houses a variety of pieces, each from a different season!

Framed wall print is a winter 2020 item. The tabletop print “there may be no thing greater than a life well loved” arrived winter 2019. Next to it, the faux succulents came in the summer 2020 box while the black metal lantern is from last spring. And the pair of black lanterns are actually Halloween 2020 pieces.

I truly do enjoy mixing and matching the Decocrated items with what I have on hand. In fact, everything I used for this spring arrived via Decocrated boxes or I already owned it. It’s so fun to play with the pieces and see what I have that combine to create vignettes that tell my stories.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated small bookcase
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – small bookcase

Get Your Own Decocrated Seasonal Box

Do you enjoy home decor? If so, you will love this subscription box that delivers fun, versatile pieces right to your front door.

Click this link for the Decocrated Spring Box, and use this discount code for $15 off the price of your first box:  CINDYM15

Or use the same code to receive $15 off a yearly subscription. Once you are a member, there are additional items that can be purchased from the online shop, and special boxes available too, like Easter, Halloween and Christmas.

Have fun welcoming spring into your home!

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated dining table
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – dining room table vignette

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Decocrated Curated Home. I may earn a commission for items purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books

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

As one of my celebration activities, during the 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, I drew this slip of paper: Write about a topic I’ve never written about before.

I had just boxed up children’s books in my home and delivered them to my daughter, for her baby girl, Finley. Delivering the books, I wondered, When did Little Golden Books come into existence? I remembered reading them as a child. And I read them to my children and grandchildren.

That question led to research and a blog topic I’ve never written about before.

Here’s the story behind Little Golden Books.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books title meme

The Beginning of Little Golden Books

When Little Golden Books first published, in 1942, high quality books for children were expensive, averaging $2 to $3 each. Most parents couldn’t afford such books. Little Golden Books changed that, launching 12 titles in their first series.

Sold in stores where people shopped weekly, and at an extremely reasonable 25 cents each, the books gained instant popularity. Hundreds of thousands of books sold, drawing the attention of talented writers such as Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon, and new author Richard Scarry. Millions of children developed a love for reading, thanks to these affordable books.

The first three titles published in 1942 included Three Little Kittens, The Little Red Hen and The Alphabet from A to Z. Each book featured brightly colored illustrations and a sturdy cardboard cover with a shiny, golden spine.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books red hen
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – The Little Red Hen

 

Little Golden Books Timeline

1940s

Just four months after their initial launch, most Little Golden Book titles are in their third printing. More than 1.5 million copies sell during that time.

In 1944, Disney publishes their first Little Golden Book, Through the Picture Frame.

1950s

In the 1950s the company celebrates its 10th anniversary with 183 million books sold. The cost is still 25 cents. Except for Russia, the books are available throughout the world.

1960s

Prices raise slightly in the 60s, to 29 cents. Due to the popularity of Saturday morning cartoons, titles include favorites such as The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound and Tom and Jerry.

1970s

Sesame Street titles join Little Golden Books in the 1970s. And the first Barbie title is published in 1974. The price per book is now 59 cents.

1980s

In 1982, Little Golden Books celebrates its 40th anniversary, with more than 800 million books sold. Cost per book rises to 89 cents. On November 20, 1986, the one billionth Little Golden Book is printed. The Poky Little Puppy becomes the best selling children’s book of all time.

Click photo to order this title from Amazon.

2000s

By the 2000s, the company relaunches its most popular vintage books, due to consumer demand. Little Golden Books offers 1200 unique titles, priced at $2.99 each.

2010s

July 2013 sees the release of Star Wars Little Golden Books, with a Star Wars theme on the golden spines. Books are now $3.99 each. Random House publishes the New York Times bestseller, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow.

Little Golden Books celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2017. There are 644 titles in print. Books sell for $4.99. The company continues to release new titles for today’s child. Penguin Random House is the current publisher.

A recent release, available from Amazon. Click photo to order.

A Childhood Tradition that Continues

I grew up reading Little Golden Books. My favorite titles were fairy tales and classics such as The Little Red Hen. When my family moved from Oklahoma to Missouri, in 1970, we sold our collection of books at a garage sale. Oh, how I wish I still had my childhood books!

My children grew up reading Little Golden Books as well. Their favorites included stories about animals, tie ins to television shows such Sesame Street and Pano the Train. I read The Boy with a Drum so many times that I memorized it. That book continued as an often requested read from my grandchildren. I can still quote most of the book from memory.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books vintage
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – these are vintage now and well worn from years of reading

A New Home for My Little Golden Books

With the birth of my newest granddaughter, Finley Grace, it felt like time for the collection of books to go to a new home. I boxed up the Little Golden Books along with Dr. Seuss classics and paperback favorites such as The Berenstain Bears series.

My daughter Adriel graciously accepted those books and gave them a new home in the baby’s nursery. I’m so thrilled that Adriel and her husband Nate read to Finley daily and indeed began reading to her while she was still in the womb. At almost three months old, she loves books already.

My oldest child, daughter Elissa, recently showed me the copy of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Little Golden Book that she had just purchased. I admired it and asked if the book was for Finley. “Oh no,” she told me. “This is my book.”

That’s my girl. And that’s the continuing power of Little Golden Books.

Do you have a favorite title?

The Story Behind Little Golden Books bookcase
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – a new home for the books

Check out more Little Golden Books from Amazon:

 


 

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 Curiosity in Review

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

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:

 


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.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated

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

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

What a wonderful time of year! I love the holiday season that begins, for me, with the beginning of fall and concludes after my January 9 birthday. From cool, crisp weather to seasonal décor to candlelight and festivities, I love it all.

Come take a tour of my holiday decorations, this Christmas wonderland with Decocrated featuring pieces from a year of subscription boxes from this fun company. This is one of my favorite things about Decocrated. The pieces from the spring box work for fall and Christmas. And last winter’s box meshes perfectly with this winter’s items. Two items from the Halloween box are on display in one of my Christmas vignettes.

In my opinion, that brings even more value to the boxes. Most of the Decocrated items remain in use in a variety of ways throughout the year.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated title meme

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated

I received the Decocrated winter box right after Halloween. It was fun to begin decorating with items that can go up before and remain up after the holidays. I liked that transition.

When the Christmas box arrived, decorating for the holidays began in earnest. Check out the fun Christmas box items, in the following vignettes. I’ll also point out items from previous boxes so you can see how wonderfully the pieces work together.

Christmas Hot Cocoa Bar

I’ve always wanted to create a hot cocoa bar. Decocrated inspired me to do so this year with their fun pieces. The two tiered tray is from the summer 2020 box. It holds a cute gingerbread set I’ve owned for years and on the bottom shelf, my teapot, a couple of red and black mugs and a hot chocolate sign. The sled shelf is from the winter 2020 box. It’s the perfect size for my stacking snowman set, a wooden tree, the sweet travel inspired art and a yummy scented candle. And the piece that started this cocoa bar, the sign post, is from the Christmas 2020 box.

In the black wire shelf, containers of loose leaf herbs stand ready for cups of fragrant hot tea. Tea bags rest in the round black and red cannister while healthy hot cocoa mixes and chai latte packets, all from Four Sigmatic, provide the “cocoa” in in this cocoa bar. I’ve enjoyed this festive yet practical set up so much. The sled shelf has a permanent place here in my kitchen where herbs and tea bags will always offer refreshment.

 

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated cocoa bar
Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated – cocoa bar

Dining Room Vignettes

As I’ve stated before, my dining room more properly is my vignette and plant room. I never eat at the little round dining table! Instead, the room changes with the seasons. Currently it features a variety of Christmas décor and festive vignettes.

Snowman Village

I broke up my snowman collection this year, grouping them around the house. On this small table, nestled against the open door into my creative studio, a cheery group of snowmen share space with a couple of Decocrated Christmas pieces.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year framed print (which reverses to a Joy to the World print) and the wooden red truck sign, both from the Christmas box, add to the fun in this snowman gathering.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated snowmen
Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated – snowmen

More Snowmen

On the dining room table, more snowmen cluster around the black candle ring from the fall 2020 box. It looks so Christmasy with its ring of dark red berries. I’ll definitely use the candle ring for each season by changing what surrounds the base and the color of the candle tapers. The framed snowman print is a drawing my late brother-in-law drew when he was a boy. I love using his art in my home. As an adult Ray became an amazing artist. Sadly, cancer cut his life short. I think he must smile that I framed his snowman.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated candle ring
Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated – candle ring from the fall box

Christmas Lanterns

After I unpacked the Christmas box, I rearranged this top shelf on my tall bookcase so that the sled shelf could move to the kitchen. The adorable winter village from the winter 2020 box remains, as do the wooden perpetual calendar and the “hello winter” mug. And last winter’s double sided framed art print moved to hang on the wall.

New to this collection is the wooden lantern. I love how versatile this piece is. It looks Christmasy with a silver poinsettia bow. However, after Christmas I’ll replace it with a winter-themed bow. As each season arrives, this lantern will get a new bow or a floral arrangement to freshen it up.

The second shelf remains as is, with its winter theme. The winter village framed print and the large greenery print are from the winter 2020 box while the ceramic trees that I love so much arrived in the winter 2019 box.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated winter village
Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated – winter village and wooden lantern

Black and White Christmas Vignette

And my new this year black and white Christmas vignette continues to bring me joy. The wooden crate on the top shelf came with the fall 2020 box. I filled it with pumpkins for fall and Halloween. It now holds black and white cloth ornaments. The black lantern on the second shelf, another extremely versatile piece, arrived in the spring 2020 box. And the black lanterns on the bottom shelf are Halloween box pieces. I’ll use them year around.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated small bookcase
Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated – black and white vignette

Living Room Vignettes

Moving on to the living room, the following vignettes feature Decocrated pieces as well, from boxes throughout the year.

Joy

I created this cozy spot on my vintage sofa with these pieces from Decocrated. That metal and wooden tray, that I use ALL the time, is from the winter 2019 box. Working with brands and products, many of my photos feature this tray. The snuggly throw is from last winter’s box also while the tree pillow is from winter 2020. I love the JOY pillow from the Christmas box. It’s reversible. The other side offers a greenery design that matches the large framed print from the winter 2020 box, with the addition of bright red berries. Flipping the pillow to that side, this cozy corner can remain in place until spring.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated joy
Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated – JOY pillow

Entry Table

On the bottom shelf of my chippy entry table, the gold planter from summer 2020 gets dressed for Christmas with sprays of greenery and berries. It looks classy and festive. The ceramic Santa candle holder adds playfulness.

The top of the shelf features an eclectic group of Santas sharing space with a wire cloche, a bowl of favorite ornaments and a reminder for the season.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated entry table
Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated – entry table

Explosion of Festivity

I call this next vignette an “explosion of festivity”! I enjoyed creating a burst of color with the gold canister set from the spring 2020 box. If you had asked me last year if I’d ever decorate with gold pieces, I would have said “NO…I’m a silver person.”

I love that Decocrated gently pushes me beyond my comfort zone by introducing new pieces into my décor. I appreciate this canister set and the gold planter. Both remain in use every month. The mirror reflecting all that joyful festivity is from summer 2020.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated gold canister set
An explosion of festivity! The exuberance in this vignette literally makes me laugh.

Bedroom Reading Nook

One more vignette to share, this one from my bedroom. I have many, many more Christmas vignettes, displayed in every room in my house. These featured in this post provide a sampling of how I use Decocrated pieces, from all of the seasonal boxes, to create a cozy, merry and fun Christmas atmosphere in my home.

This is my reading nook, near the windows in my bedroom. The blue and white striped rug, from the summer 2020 box cozies up the glider while the blue pillow, from the same box, adds comfort. My daughter gifted me the warm, snuggly blanket.

That’s a vintage metal tray beneath the cheerful red and white checkered cloth. While I’m reading a good book that tray holds a cup of hot tea and a healthy snack.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated cozy
Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated – reading spot

Do You Love Decorating?

What about you? Do you enjoy decorating and creating vignettes in your home that tell stories?

I love getting the Decocrated boxes each season. They come right to my front door. As you see, the pieces work well with existing décor, no matter your style, and they work well with items from other seasons. And sure, you can shop at places like Hobby Lobby…I still do…however the Decocrated pieces are becoming my foundational items.

If you’d like to try a seasonal box…or go ahead and sign up for a year of decorating fun…click my link I LOVE TO DECORATE. And, type in my code CINDYM15 to save $15 off a seasonal box or a yearly subscription. The yearly subscription is the best value and you won’t miss a box.

There are a limited number of winter 2020 boxes still available. These pieces are perfect for after the holidays and will take you to spring. The spring 2021 box comes available soon, as do the Easter add on boxes.

Merry Christmas, my dear readers and friends. May you experience the joys and blessings of the season. And together we enter into a bright new year.

Christmas Wonderland with Decocrated wooden lantern

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Decocrated Curated Home. I may earn a commission for items purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.