20 Ways to Simplify Your Life

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A change I’ve observed this year, for many people, is the desire to simplify their lives. The months spent at home, the extra time with family, growing gardens and cooking at home more created…or perhaps satisfied…a longing for simplicity.

The first week in August brings with it National Simplify Your Life Week. This holiday encourages us to refocus our lives by decluttering and eliminating anything that causes stress or anxiety. The decluttering isn’t just physical. Clearing space happens on an emotional and spiritual level as well.

Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. It can feel challenging to follow through with making changes in our lives, even changes that ultimately bring greater joy and deeper peace.

Here are 20 ways to simplify your life, to get you started. Most of these changes require little effort beyond putting practices into place. Some you probably already do.

 

20 Ways to Simplify Your Life title meme

20 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Perhaps you find yourself longing for a more simple way of life. Or perhaps you are enjoying the new simplicity that you’ve adopted this year and feel ready for more changes. Try a few or all of these suggestions.

Set Monthly or Weekly or Daily Goals

Rather than making New Year’s resolutions or crafting a long list of goals for the year, break them down into more manageable goals. Try setting one to three goals for the month. Then add actions steps for the week. And finally, prioritize what’s most important, daily, to accomplish.

These shorter range goals help you accomplish more, creating satisfaction while developing new habits and practices that bring you greater joy.

Create a Daily List of your Most Important Things To Do

If you are a list maker, like me, you might enjoy adding everything for the day to your list, just for the joy of crossing it off.

If list making isn’t your thing, try jotting down your top three priorities for each day and focus on those. Nothing else gets done, until those three priorities are crossed off. Once those big items are completed, you have time and energy to focus on other things, if you want to.

Create Systems

You can create a streamlined system for just about anything and put it into place. This might include a cleaning schedule that’s simple yet effective. Or a food prep system. Whatever you find yourself doing repeatedly, streamline it with a system to free up time for other things.

As a blogger, the best system I’ve created thus far is to plan out and schedule all my blog posts and social media posts a month in advance. I’ve been doing this since last October and I’m amazed at how much time it saves me. As each month draws to a close, I create the next month, filling in a notebook page for both blogs and their corresponding social media pages.

What tasks could you streamline by creating a system?

Use Your Phone’s Calendar to Set Reminders

That smart phone is a handy way to keep track of appointments or tasks. I use mine to schedule everything from meeting with people to turning in assignments to listening to a podcast. You can set an alarm too, five minutes to an hour before the event, so that you don’t miss it.

I also use the notes section on my phone for all kinds of things such as capturing ideas, saving info or dictating a blog post. Sometimes I wonder about something, as I’m driving. I’ll ask a question and save it in my notes until I can check on it later. Often the answer arrives to my question without any further effort on my part. I love it when that happens!

Anything that you can move from your brain to paper or a electronic device frees up the mind to then focus on other things.

Unsubscribe from Emails and Create a Follow Up Folder

This is something I am currently working on. An overwhelming number of emails flood my inboxes every day. I’m talking about hundreds of emails daily. I can’t keep up with them and sadly, most of them are not important to me anyway.

I’m currently unsubscribing from anything that I’m no longer interested in or never signed up for anyway. It’s a slow process however Google is now assisting me by showing me emails from companies that I’ve not opened in the last 30 days and asking me if I want to unsubscribe. Yes. Yes I do.

For emails that I want to come back to and respond to I have a Follow Up Folder that I move them to. It’s easy then to find them rather than having to scroll through lots and lots of emails.

20 Ways to Simplify Your Life list
20 Ways to Simplify Your Life – make lists and systems and follow them

Declutter Your House One Room at a Time

Clutter clogs energy. As clutter accumulates in a room, it changes the flow of energy. Soon you’ll find yourself avoiding that room or tossing more stuff in there and then closing the door on it.

Free up the flow of energy and feel better in your own home by systematically decluttering a room at a time. Start with one room and don’t move on to the next room until that room is finished. Use the three piles method as you clear the room: throw away pile, give away pile, keep pile. Then throw away, give away and find a place for everything in the keep pile.

Organize Your Closets and Drawers

After you declutter a room, tackle the closets and drawers in that room too. Use the same three pile method of dealing with all that’s in those closets and drawers. I love Marie Kondo’s method of holding items to see if they spark joy. If they do, keep them. If they don’t, give them away or throw them away.

Marie offers wonderful suggestions for organizing closets, drawers and spaces. Pick up her book HERE.

You will LOVE the way your rooms and ultimately your home feel after a good decluttering and re-organization.

Have a Place for Everything

And put everything in its place. A recent study suggests that we spend the equivalent of 12 days a year, looking for things we can’t find. Bring simplicity into your life and stop wasting time searching for lost items. When everything has a place, it’s easy to locate it, use it and put it back.

Simplify Your Wardrobe

How many of your clothes do you actually wear? Simplify your wardrobe by eliminating all the clothes you no longer wear, for whatever reason. Donate clothing to shelter closets or organizations that resell them. Or sale them yourself through apps like Poshmark.

Using Marie’s “does it spark joy?”, sort through clothes and keep only those that bring you joy. If you haven’t worn it in a year, will you ever? Create a capsule wardrobe of pieces that work well together.

I love the sustainable clothing movement that encourages us to buy less throw away type clothing, focusing instead on quality pieces that last for years. Buy less. Buy sustainable. Purchase clothing from second hand shops. Repurpose clothing. It’s all better for the pocket book and it’s better for the planet as well.

Buy Less, Consume Less, Waste Less

Beyond clothing, in what other areas can you spend less, waste less, consume less? I’m working on eliminating single use plastics from my home and life by using more glass and metal items.

I’m also finding ways to reuse and repurpose items so that I’m buying less throw away materials. These practices not only simplify life they benefit the environment and the planet.

20 Ways to Simplify Your Life plastics
20 Ways to Simplify Your Life – eliminate plastics

Eat More Whole Foods

Eating more whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, simple grains and herbs simplifies life and improves health at the same time. Trust me, an unhealthy life is complicated and time consuming.

Eating healthier meals can be as simple as veggie bowls, fruit smoothies, stir fries and chopped veggie salads. I can make a meal on a bowl of watermelon!

Prep Food

Food prep once a week streamlines the cooking process, freeing up time for other things. Spend an hour on Sunday afternoon washing, chopping and preparing food, then store everything in the refrigerator. I love the ease and convenience of having foods ready to go in the fridge.

Invest in an instant pot and a slow cooker to make meal preparation easier.

Carry a Water Bottle Everywhere

We all know we need to drink more water. Make it simple to get enough water by having it with you, always. Invest in a metal water container to eliminate plastic use. Check out these colorful choices below! Click on the photo for more info or to purchase.

 

Stop Hanging Out with Toxic People

Make room in your life for people who are in alignment with who you are and who encourage you. None of us have time for people who are toxic, who berate or belittle or disrespect who we are.

In her book Untamed, Glennon Doyle compares setting boundaries to living on an island. No one comes onto your island unless you allow them to. Don’t allow toxic people to bring negative energy into your space.

Slow Down

If you find yourself rushing through a day filled with back to back appointments and events, slow down. Create space in the day to catch your breath and take a break.

Simplicity means you become present in the moment and notice what’s going on around you. It’s pausing to bring yourself back to yourself. My favorite way of building breaks into the day is afternoon tea time. That 30 minute break restores me.

20 Ways to Simplify Your Life breaks
20 Ways to Simplify Your Life – take a break

Practice Self Care

One aspect of a simple lifestyle is self care. We cannot offer to others when we are running on empty. Do what you must to care for yourself, then you can offer to others.

Meditate, go for walks, do yoga, practice a healthy lifestyle, give yourself a manicure, read a book, do absolutely nothing for an hour. Whatever restores you…body, mind and spirit…do that. Build me time into your day.

Use More Ecologically Friendly Products

Try using more ecologically friendly products in your home. Laundry products, cleaning supplies, shampoos, shower soaps and toiletries are all available in plant based or chemical and dye free versions. These products are cleaner for the environment and better for us as well.

Check out stores like Natural Grocers or health food stores to discover the vast variety of ecological products available.

I love my alpaca wool dryer balls. Used in place of fabric softener sheets, they are an easy item to incorporate into your simple lifestyle.

Watch Less Television

I enjoy watching an occasional show or browsing through Netflix on the weekends. However, television qualifies as a huge time waster. Spending too much time playing electronic games or scrolling through social media do also.

There’s nothing wrong with watching tv or looking at Facebook. My blogging tasks include time on social media. It’s part of my job. However, hours and hours spent watching tv or scrolling through Instagram means less time to do other things you might enjoy.

Disconnect from electronics and rediscover the joys of outdoor play, reading a book or deep conversations with family or friends.

Create Morning and Evening Rituals

These simple routines start and end the day well. Spend 10 to 30 minutes gearing up for the day and preparing for a good night’s sleep at the end of it.

Write out your ideal morning and evening rituals and begin practicing them, modifying if necessary, until they become habits. Your morning routine might include reading, meditation, juicing or a run. Evening rituals might include music, a hot bath, writing and making tomorrow’s to do list. Customize your routines for you.

Say No to the Things You Don’t Want to Do

A major component of a simplified life is to not cram too much into the day. I love saying yes as often as I can, however I say yes to the things that I want to do. New opportunities and creativity and joy inducing activities receive a resounding yes from me. I say no to others’ expectations and events that are not in alignment with who I am.

This was a challenging area for me, for many years. I’m such a people pleaser. Now I focus on pleasing myself first.

20 Ways to Simplify Your Life night routine
20 Ways to Simplify Your Life – night routine

Living a Simple Lifestyle

Living a simple lifestyle means different things to different people. It begins with the process of identifying what’s most important to you and eliminating everything else.

When asked how he created the beautiful David statue, Michelangelo answered that he simply chipped away all the stone that was not David.

That’s how we create a simplified life. We chip away all that is not who we are and what we love to do.

Write down what is most important to you. List three to five things. Use those to create a Simplicity Statement. Then make room for the simple by eliminating the excess. Keep your Simplicity Statement where you can see it and refer to it often.

If you need ideas, return to the list above, of 20 ways to simplify your life. Then go, and enjoy that life.

20 Ways to Simplify Your Life joys
20 Ways to Simplify Your Life – simple joys

 

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Daring Escapes from the Tower of London

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The Tower of London, located in the center of the city, is a fascinating place full of history and intrigue. In 2017 I spent hours touring the complex and learning its stories with my sisters, mother and niece. And, I discovered the “tower” is a series of towers and buildings that form an impressive fortress.

William the Conqueror built the White Tower that now forms the core of the complex in 1078. That tower, considered a symbol of oppression against London by the Norman ruler, served as a prison from 1100 until 1952.

Although the complex housed a royal residence early in its history and  contains many other buildings, the Tower became synonymous with the prison. The thought of imprisonment in the Tower created fear, for many who went into the Tower never came out. However, a few ingenious prisoners managed to break out of this formidable place.

These are the tales of some of the most daring escapes from the Tower of London.

Daring Escapes from the Tower of London title meme

Five of the Most Daring Escapes from the Tower of London

During its 900 plus year history, more than 8,000 people experienced imprisonment in the Tower. About 400 died there, with many of those losing their heads. A few captives refused to remain within those seemingly impenetrable walls, preferring to escape or die trying.

These are five of the best escapes.

Ranulf Flambard

The first official escapee from the Tower was a Bishop, the king’s tax collector and a builder. Ranulf oversaw the construction of the stone London Bridge, Westminster Hall and the curtain wall around the Tower of London.

When Henry I ascended to the throne, he removed Ranulf from official duties, charged him with embezzlement and imprisoned him.

For six months Ranulf patiently built up trust with his jailers, entertaining them frequently with banquets. On February 2, 1101 Ranulf hosted another elaborate banquet, offering an abundance of wine to his guests.

As the jailers lay drunk, Ranulf used a rope he smuggled into his cell and rappelled down the curtain wall he built. Although the rope was too short, he dropped the last 20 feet to where a horse awaited him, left there by friends, and disappeared into the night.

Daring Escapes from the Tower of London white tower
Daring escapes from the Tower of London – the White Tower in the center of the complex

Alice Tankerville

Alice is the only woman who attempted to flee from the Tower. Imprisoned during the reign of Henry VIII, Alice faced a death sentence for stealing 366 gold crowns. Considered a charming woman, Alice befriended one of her jailers, John Bawde.

Bawde fell in love with Alice and agreed to help her escape. Planning their escape through the Traitor’s Gate, Bawde secured rope and cut a second key to one of the Tower’s outer doors.

On a dark night in 1524, Alice escaped with the help of Bawde. After tying the rope to an iron hook,  the pair of lovers lowered themselves down the parapets of St. Thomas’ Tower. Exiting through the gate, they rowed a small boat across the moat, then disembarked and crept down a road toward the spot where two horses waited.

Alas, their plan failed. Tower guards lived along the road they walked on. The night watch apprehended Alice and Bawde, returning them to the Tower. On March 31, 1534, Alice was left chained to the wall along the river during low tide, to meet her fate as the tide rose.  John Bawde experienced the rack and then suspended in chains over the outer walls of the Tower, he died of exposure and dehydration. Officials never found the gold pieces.

Daring Escapes from the Tower of London gate
Daring Escapes from the Tower of London – the Traitor’s Gate where prisoners were brought in via the Thames River

Edmund Neville

Edmund holds the distinction of making three attempts to escape from the Tower. Accused of plotting against Elizabeth I, he first experienced the Tower in 1584. Using a small file, he worked loose the bars of his cell window until he could squeeze through and climb down the wall.

Edmond actually fled London, however the odor clinging to him from his swim across the Tower moat alerted a horseman, who turned him in. After his capture, he returned to his Tower cell.

Two years later, the man attempted the same escape, through the same window. This time, using a rope smuggled in to him by his wife, Edmund carefully lowered himself down. However, his rope too short, Edmund dropped into the moat with a splash, alerting the guards.

Six years later, he made his third attempt. This time, he created a mannequin out of straw and dressed it in his own clothes. He then dressed as a blacksmith, complete with fake tools, and waited for his jailer to enter his cell. Unable to overcome his guard, the plan failed. Happily for him, he gained his release from the Tower two years later and was exiled.

Daring Escapes from the Tower of London tower
Daring escapes from the Tower of London – one of the towers in the complex

John Gerard

A Jesuit priest, John experienced imprisonment in the Tower in 1597 due to his Catholic faith. During the reign of Elizabeth I, those associated with the Catholic Church faced persecution.

Torture did not force John to denounce his faith. In spite of the torture, his jailers showed kindness to the priest, allowing his friends to send him gifts such as clothing and oranges. John shared his oranges with the guards…while using the juice to write secret message. The juice dries invisible but appears when heated.

After enlisting help through those secret messages, he escaped on October 4,  1597 using a rope strung across the Tower moat. John even arranged for the escape of one of his jailers because he knew the man would be held responsible for the escape.

Daring Escapes from the Tower of London bridge
Daring escapes from the Tower of London – Thames River near the Tower. That’s the Tower Bridge in the background.

William Maxwell, 5th Earl of Nithsdale

This escape story is my favorite, told to us last year while we toured Traquair House in the Borders of Scotland.

Taken to the Tower for his part in the Jacobite rebellion in 1715, William might have died there if not for his wife, Lady Winifred. After trying to secure her husband’s release through legal means, and failing, Lady Winifred concocted an ingenious plan.

On the day before his scheduled execution, she and her maids visited William in his cell. Beneath their dresses they smuggled in layers of clothes. William walked out of the tower with the maids, wearing a dress and the “nithsdale cloak”, which is still held dear by his descendants.

Lady Winifred remained in the cell and pretended to talk to her husband, before making her own escape. She joined William in Paris and they lived out their days together.

Daring Escapes from the Tower of London Lady Winifred
Daring escapes from the Tower of London – Lady Winifred used ingenuity to help her husband escape. I took this photo while in Traquair House.

No Longer a Prison

After centuries of use as a prison, the Tower no longer serves that purpose. The drained moat is now the Tower ditch and the torture dungeon is a tourist attraction.

The stories live on though, and walking around the complex, one can easily imagine the life and death dramas that played out here within these intimidating walls. Of the 8,000 plus prisoners held captive here, only 40 successfully escaped.

Imprisoned in the Tower of London, would you try to escape?

Daring Escapes from the Tower of London group photo
Group photo in the Tower. Fortunately, we could walk out of the complex!

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Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo’s David

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My daughter, grandson and I toured Italy in 2017, checking many destinations and sights off our “must see” list. The colosseum and Sistine Chapel in Rome, Venice’s canals and the Leaning Tower of Pisa were on the list, along with Michelangelo’s David in Florence.

To see those places, structures and statue, after years of reading about them and studying photos, was both surreal and wondrous.

In Florence, our tour guide, Andrea, shared stories about David, one of the most amazing sculptures in the world. Andrea’s reverence and passion kept us spellbound and listening to every word as he shared from his wealth of knowledge.

I learned much that I did not know that deepened my appreciation for Michelangelo and his incredible sculpture. These are things you may not know about Michelangelo’s David. Perhaps you will learn something new as well.

Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo's David title meme

Where is the David Statue?

David is located in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy. Considered the most famous statue in Florence, and perhaps the world, this magnificent work of art was created between 1501 and 1504 by a young Michelangelo, who was about 26 years old when commissioned for the statue.

The museum features other works of art by Michelangelo and art by great Italian artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo and Orcagna.

We spent a couple of hours in the museum, as part of a day in Florence. One could easily spend a whole day there, studying the exhibits.

Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo's David Andrea
Our amazing tour guide while in Florence, Andrea, which is a common male name in Italy. And that’s my gorgeous daughter in the foreground.

Things You Probably Do Know About Michelangelo’s David

First, the things you probably DO know about this famous statue.

David is a depiction of the Biblical David, who killed the giant Goliath with a slingshot and a stone. Goliath taunted the Hebrew army daily…think bullying to the extreme…and because of his size, no one wanted to fight him. Although David was a youth, he accepted Goliath’s challenge to fight, one on one. Foregoing armor and a sword, David instead relied on his faith in God to help him defeat Goliath.

David is presented in all his glory, meaning the statue is naked.

The marble statue is 17 feet, 6 1/2 inches tall and weighs more than 12,000 pounds.

Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo's David first view
My first glimpse of David in the museum.

Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo’s David

And now for the things you may not know. I love learning facts about well known places and things. The stories add interest and depth.

Commissioned to Decorate the Roofline of a Cathedral

David was originally commissioned to stand along the eastern roofline of the Florence Cathedral. Because of the impressive quality of work, David ended up instead in a public square, the Piazza della Signoria, where it was unveiled on September 8, 1504. To protect it from weather and vandalism, the statue eventually took up residence in the Accademia Gallery in 1873. A replica of David replaced the original in the piazza.

And in 2010 another David replica graced the cathedral roofline, carrying out the intention from hundreds of years ago.

Carved From a Single Block of “Rejected” Marble

Michelangelo carved his masterpiece from a single block of Carrara marble. Two other sculptures began work on the block. Both stopped due to the poor quality and brittleness of the marble. Additionally, the marble contained strong veins running through it while pinholes riddled the surface.

When Michelangelo began his sculpture, the block of marble had sat abandoned for 40 years.

It took 40 men four days to move the completed sculpture from Michelangelo’s studio to the piazza.

A Unique Portrayal of David

Michelangelo broke with tradition in his portrayal of David. Other sculptures created a triumphant David, holding aloft the head of the giant after the battle. Michelangelo chose to show David before the battle, vulnerable and trusting in his nudity, his gaze analyzing the situation. A sling rests over his left shoulder and his right hand grasps a rock, indicating David was a leftie.

Michelangelo based David’s pose on Hercules, a hero with strong connections to Florence. Hercules appeared on the Florentine seal for centuries.

Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo's David full statue
Things you may not know about Michelangelo’s David – his pose mimics Hercules

David’s Hands and Head are Disproportionately Large

People have wondered if Michelangelo made a mistake, creating David’s hands and head larger than they should have been. However, even at a young age, Michelangelo was not a beginner artist. David was not his first sculpture. Additionally, Michelangelo studied anatomy, dissecting dead bodies to learn how muscles, bones and tissues worked.

One theory is that the large hands are a nod to David’s nickname, manu fortis, which means “strong of hand”. Our tour guide Andrea suggested another possibility. Because David originally intended to stand high above the ground, on the roof of the cathedral, Michelangelo enlarged the hands and head so that when people looked up, the proportions appeared correct.

Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo's David hand
Things you may not know about Michelangelo’s David – the hands and head are intentionally large

David is Suffering From Stress Fractures

More than 8 million visitors a year walk through the gallery to view David. All that foot traffic creates vibrations that are causing stress fractures in the marble. Frequent inspections reveal where repairs and restorations are necessary.

Blushing Queen

Queen Victoria of England received a replica of the David statue as a gift, in 1857. Shocked by David’s nudity, she ordered a plaster fig leaf made, to cover his privates. Leaf in place, the statue went on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo's David profile
Things you may not know about Michelangelo’s David – he’s portrayed as a leftie

Court Case

Although David has been a Florence resident for more than 500 years, the Italian government recently asked courts to determine whether David belongs to the city…or to Italy. No decision has been made yet.

Appreciation for David

My tour group spent about 30 minutes with David, as Andrea spoke passionately about him. Seeing Michelangelo’s statue was definitely the highlight of our time in Florence.

I felt strong emotions, circling the incredible sculpture. I admit that my eyes filled with tears several times.

He truly is beautiful and the artist’s genius is evident. David’s muscles show Michelangelo’s familiarity with human anatomy. The rib cage shows definition. And David’s face is extraordinary. The eyes appear to gaze intently toward his challenger. A tiny furrow creases his brow, making him seem deep in thought. His body appears relaxed and confident and powerful.

Andrea shared that Michelangelo believed God gave him the gift of releasing figures from the marble. When asked how he created David, Michelangelo reportedly replied that he simply chipped away all the stone that was not David.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to see David and learn things I did not know about him. I hope you’ve learned new things about David as well!

Things You May Not Know About Michelangelo's David in Florence
Our Florence selfie.

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Titanic Museum Branson Missouri

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Road Trip Friday is back, with a fun jaunt south to beautiful Branson, Missouri for a first experience. Greg accompanied me and of course my little travel mascot, Ferni the VW van, rode along too.

It’s been six years since I last visited Branson, home to a huge variety of attractions from music shows to the Silver Dollar City amusement park to outlet malls to interesting museums. My destination for this road trip was a museum I’ve wanted to visit for years and had yet to explore.

The Titanic Museum Branson Missouri is located at 3235 W 76 Country Blvd. There is a sister museum in Pigeon Ford, Tennessee as well.

We enjoyed lunch at a near by restaurant, explored the area for a bit and then arrived at the Titanic Museum ready to board the ship!

Titanic Museum Branson Missouri title meme

Why I Chose This Museum

I first became captivated by Titanic as a child. The story both fascinated me and horrified me. I didn’t realize then that my empathic abilities caused emotional overwhelm when encountering such catastrophic events. Even though I wanted to learn more, my little heart hurt and my intense sense of justice fired up over this tragedy. How could an unsinkable ship, sink? How could there not be enough lifeboats?

Fast forward to 1997 and the blockbuster film “Titanic“. I did not want to see the movie for fear I couldn’t handle it, emotionally. Apparently I was meant to view it though. After being tricked into seeing it at the theater, I did indeed find the movie difficult to watch. I thought my heart would explode.

However, after making it through that first viewing, I watched Titanic many more times. It’s one of my favorite films. And my love affair with the story grew. I discovered beauty in the lives of those who sailed on Titanic’s maiden voyage.

The Titanic Museum Branson Missouri opened on April 10, 2006. I finally stepped onboard on July 17, 2020.

 

Titanic Museum Branson Museum Ferni
Ferni’s photo at the Titanic Museum Branson Missouri

Titanic Museum Branson Missouri

Due to COVID19, safety protocol that follows CDC guidelines is currently in place for this museum. Tickets must be purchased online HERE so that staff can limit the number of visitors per time slot.

Face masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all times while in the museum. Staff wear them too. And social distancing is encouraged as well.

When we arrived I took a few photos outside. Photography is not allowed inside, and understandably so. The museum is full of artifacts and photos from the ship.

I received a text message about thirty minutes before our boarding time, asking us to remain in the car until time to board. A second text arrived a short time later, welcoming us onboard. It was time to go!

Every guest is handed a boarding pass. On the back of it is a name of one of Titanic’s passengers along with details about their life on the ship. Keep that boarding pass. You might discover more info about your person during the tour. And toward the end of the visit, you find out whether your person survived or not.

Each of us also received a device that plays informative messages about particular displays and objects in the museum. The tours are self guided and may be taken at your own pace.

Titanic Museum Branson Missouri boarding pass
Boarding passes from Titanic Museum Branson Missouri

Touring the Museum

Since I can’t post any photos from inside the museum, I’ll use my words to share highlights of this fascinating experience.

The museum asks the question:

“How do you pay respect to the 2,208 passengers and crew aboard RMS Titanic?

Their answer? You tell their stories, everyday.

Titanic Stats

Titanic’s keel was laid down in Belfast, Ireland on March 31, 1909. She launched May 31, 1911 and set sail on her maiden voyage April 10, 1912.

The ship measured 882 feet in length and 92 feet in width. From her hull to the top of her stacks she stood 175 feet tall, making her the height of a 17 story building. Her service speed was 21 knots.

Titanic contained over 3 million rivets and carried 5,892 tons of coal to fuel her furnaces.

There are photographs, drawings, models and videos in the first few sections of the museum that capture Titanic coming together. She truly was an amazing ship, the queen of the White Star Line, offering the best in accommodations for her passengers.

Because Titanic was considered unsinkable, only 20 lifeboats were added, rather than the 64 the plans called for.

The Maiden Voyage

The RMS Titanic set sail carrying 2208 passengers and crew. For her first voyage she sailed with 54% of her capacity. Onboard were 324 first class passengers, 276 second class passengers, 709 third class passengers and 899 crew members. Surprisingly, 12 dogs traveled on Titanic, housed in the kennels on F deck. Only three survived, tiny dogs carried onto lifeboats by their owners.

The RMS stands for Royal Mail Streamer. Titanic carried mail, under contract with the British Royal Mail, 3,243 sacks containing 2000 plus pieces of mail each.

Titanic carried some of the wealthiest people in the world at that time, along with hundreds of immigrants from England, Ireland and Scandinavia seeking a fresh start in America. Prominent guests included American millionaire John Jacob Astor IV and his wife, Macy’s owner Isidor Straus and his wife and Denver millionairess Molly Brown.

The ship’s designer, Thomas Andrew, traveled to observe any problems and assess the performance of the ship. He went down with Titanic.

Titanic’s captain, Edward Smith, carried the rank of commodore. He intended to retire after the ship’s first voyage. He remained on Titanic as she sank.

Titanic Museum Branson Missouri entrance
Museum entrance

Father Browne’s Photo Collection

The museum is pleased to offer this incredible collection of photos from Father Francis Browne. This Jesuit priest with keen photography skills traveled on Titanic as she gathered passengers from Southampton, England, Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland.

Father Browne boarded in Southamptom and disembarked in Queenstown. He took many photographs of the ship and her passengers, including the last ever known photo of Titanic as she departed. Thanks to him we have a glimpse into Titanic’s world.

In this section of the museum, replicas of a third class room and hallway show the traveling conditions. Although they appear small and plain, they were considered extraordinary in Titanic’s day.

The Grand Staircase and First Class Suite

One of the most amazing sights in the museum is the replica of Titanic’s Grand Staircase. It is actual size and made from oak. At the top of those iconic stairs is the clock featured in the Titanic film, surrounded by two figures representing Honour and Glory crowning Time. This grand staircase, with its gold decor, glass chandeliers and stunning dome ceiling, marked the entrance to the first class section.

Additionally the staircase, which is 16 feet wide, extended 60 feet below on the ship, serving seven decks.

I loved pausing here for a moment, to take in this beautiful sight. I thought of Rose and Jack from the movie, meeting on this staircase.

Walking up the staircase, we viewed a replica of a first class suite, the one used by the Astors. Although not huge, it was much larger than the third class accommodations and nicely decorated.

Titanic Artifacts

Throughout the museum glass cases hold artifacts from the ship. These are not replicas. The items are from Titanic, obtained from families, private collections and pieces acquired by the museum. Every year they change artifacts at both museums to keep exhibits fresh.

We saw deck chairs, a life jacket, keys, a purse, silverware and silver serving pieces, baby shoes, dinner plates and serving dishes among other things. It’s amazing that these pieces remained intact. They provide a hint of the elegance of Titanic and give a peek into the personal lives of the passengers. I found the artifacts to be beautiful, in a haunting sort of way.

The Music Room

As we approached this room I heard a piano playing the theme song from the film Titanic. Sadness swept over me. Inside the room, a staff member, dressed appropriately in ship uniform, sat at the baby grand piano.

The room features large photographs of the eight musicians onboard Titanic. These men, members of a three piece ensemble and a five piece one, are well known for playing as the ship sank. The man finished playing the piano and then shared with us about each of these remarkable musicians.

Considered heroes, all eight men perished with the ship, playing music to keep the passengers calm. One second class passenger said:

“Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame.”

Titanic Museum is the only place in the world that honors the eight musicians who sacrificed their lives that night.

Titanic Museum Branson Missouri ship
Impressive replica of the ship at the Titanic Museum Branson Missouri

Captain’s Bridge

As we neared the end of our tour, we explored the Captain’s Bridge with its brass instruments and large steering wheel. I noted that the wheel came from Edinburgh! Captain Smith, the officers and the quartermasters occupied the bridge. Each day the bridge crew was divided into six watches of five hours each.

Beyond the bridge we learned of that fateful night, April 14, 1912.

Four days into her maiden voyage, Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 pm. The ship steered south of the known ice field, however the crew received six warnings of sea ice in the area. Two lookouts in the crow’s nest spotted an iceberg straight ahead. With her speed at 22 knots, the ship could not turn quickly enough to avoid a glancing blow to her starboard side. Six of her sixteen compartments opened to the sea. Titanic’s “unsinkable” design could stay afloat with four compartments taking on water, but not six.

The shortage of lifeboats prompted crew to attempt boarding women and children first but in the chaos that protocol wasn’t strictly followed.  And poor evacuation management meant that many boats launched before they were completely full.

Titanic sank in 2 hours and 40 minutes, in the early hours of April 15, with more than fifteen hundred passengers and crew still onboard. Many died on the ship. Others jumped or fell into the sea, however the water temperature that night was 28 degrees. Those exposed in the water died in minutes from the cold. The survivors numbered 705.

Hands On Room and Memorial Room

Designed with the youngest visitors in mind, the hands on room offers experiences such as stories from a staff member, activity books, the sloping decks of Titanic to climb on and a container of cold water. The water is the same temperature as the sea the night Titanic sank. Putting my fingers into the water was a shock. It hurt my heart to think of people…men, women and children…struggling in that icy water.

Entering the Memorial Room is a somber experience. On one wall is a list of all of the passengers and crew. Underlined names indicate survivors. Names in italics show those people perished.

It was time to see if the people on our boarding passes survived or died.

My lady, Emma Bliss, was 45 years old. One of 23 female stewardess on Titanic, her duties included taking care of the women in first class. As Titanic foundered, an older man offered Emma a seat on one of the last lifeboats leaving the ship. He said he had lived his life, but hers was still ahead of her. That man sacrificed his life for hers. Emma survived the sinking of the Titanic and lived to the age of 93. Greg’s person, a crewman who jumped into the water and swam to a lifeboat, survived as well.

It was touching, watching museum guests look for their “people”, hoping that they survived. My eyes filled with tears as I heard one teenage boy looking frantically not for his person, but for the man’s children. “I have to find my children” he kept saying. I don’t know if he found them as survivors or not but what a poignant moment that sadly echoed a long ago reality.

Titanic Museum Branson Missouri pass 2
Greg’s boarding pass form Titanic Museum Branson Missouri

Final Thoughts

I so enjoyed experiencing the Titanic Museum Branson Missouri. There is more to explore, learn and appreciate within the museum than what I shared. I’ve been reading about Titanic since my childhood and watching documentaries and I still learned new things wandering through the museum.

The staff is courteous and helpful, the displays respectful and educational and the overall atmosphere amazing. And there is a gift shop at the exit, full of fun items available for purchase.

I’m grateful that I finally toured this wonderful museum. Titanic continues to captivate me and now her story and those of her passengers and crew rest in my heart as well.

Long may she be remembered and those stories told. We must not forget.

Titanic Museum Branson Museum Cindy
Ferni and I at the Titanic Museum Branson Missouri

Road Trip Fridays

I’m loving these monthly road trips, to destinations within 150 miles from Joplin. Check out last month’s trip to Philbrook Museum Gardens in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And stay tuned for an exciting historical experience already scheduled for August!

Titanic Finds from Amazon:

 


 

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My Big Takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger Course

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

Thank you LadyBossBlogger and Elaine Rau for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

 

I’m back, with an exciting update on my blogging journey. 

Recently I worked through the How to Make Money as an Instagram Influencer course by LadyBossBlogger. You can read an overview of the online course HERE.

This post is all about the results, because, let’s be honest, that’s what you want to know. Is this course worth taking and how is it helpful?

Check out my big takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger course and how I’m extending my reach because of what I’ve learned.

My Big Takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger Course title meme

My Starting Point

It’s good to know my starting point, as I began this next level blogging adventure.

Eighteen months ago I shifted my focus to monetizing my blogs. Among my first tasks, increasing Instagram followers and engagement seemed extremely important. It’s just a fact of the blogging life. If you want to work with brands and get paid for sponsored posts, you must create an eye-catching, engaging Instagram business account. I’ve been fortunate to work with 40+ brands in the last year and a half. Most of those, including two national magazines, reached out to me through my Instagram account.

Initially, those brands offered products or services in exchange for blog and Instagram posts. And that’s okay. It’s a great way to learn about working with brands and creating content. Eventually paid sponsorships began coming my way.

So why take a course now, on making money as an Instagram influencer?

Because I see the value in investing in myself and my business. And I’m always open to learning from others. This course arrived at the perfect time in my blogging journey. I felt ready to boost my confidence and take blogging to the next level, as an influencer.

My Big Takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger Course taking notes
My Big Takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger Course – taking notes

How to Make Money as an Instagram Influencer Course

As a reminder, the online course is divided into nine lesson packed modules. The materials arrive via your email inbox and you may move through the course at your own pace.

  • Introduction – course overview and expectations
  • Branding –  all about creating a personal brand on Instagram
  • Content – the foundation of an Instagram post, great content
  • Pitching – creating the perfect pitch to brands
  • Brands – how to find brands to work with
  • Money – creating income as an influencer
  • Legal – all you need to know about the legal side of blogging and influencing
  • Conclusion – becoming an affiliate
  • Bonus – there are 12 INCREDIBLE exclusive bonuses at the end of the course, including checklists and how-to’s

I took lots of notes, as I am a visual learner who remembers content best when I write it down. As I worked through the lessons, and took notes, I put stars next to lessons I wanted to implement immediately. 

The coursework is arranged so that each module builds on the prior one. The lessons are easy to understand and Elaine adds lots of real life examples and provides supporting links.

I moved through the course in about three weeks. 

My Big Takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger Course learning
My Big Takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger Course – learning new things

My Big Takeaways from Takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger Course

I could share SO MANY takeaways from the course. However, let me focus on the biggies. These are the steps I took action on.

  • Set clear working hours, create a schedule and stick to it. This is my business, after all. I want to treat it like one. I needed this important reminder. What I focus on expands. Focusing on creating a business that supports my big WHY (freedom to work remotely from anywhere in the world) is important so I have established a schedule that works for me.
  • From the lessons on defining a target audience, two big takeaways, among many: think of ONE person I know well and create content for her, keeping her needs, wants and desires in mind. And, use persuasive copy writing techniques that create curiosity. Brilliant suggestions!
  • Don’t preach. Tell a story. I immediately shifted my captions on Instagram, sharing more personal stories rather than just offering information. I’m still working on improving in this area, however I’m loving the results.
  • Interact with brands and influencers every day. It’s all about building relationships, right? Right! Tag brands I love when using their products and mention them in posts and stories.
  • I’ve done the research, as Elaine suggests, to define my market demographics. With an Instagram business account, that info is available. I’m learning from those who visit my profile and interact.
  • I’ve also better defined the purpose of my Instagram account. Knowing what I hope to accomplish helps me create better content that matches my intentions.
  • There are too many takeaways to list from the module on brands. A few highlights: I learned what brands are specifically looking for, how to control the narrative of my own brand (because each of us creates our unique brand too) and what all that means to my audience. 

The Biggest Takeaway of All

The takeaways above are truly just the tip of the iceberg. Each module in How to Make Money as an Instagram Influencer helped me to define my purpose, my own brand and my intentions.

Each action step I took brought results, from more followers on Instagram to better engagement to better content as a creator. I learned ways to continue going to the next level, step by step. 

And the biggest takeaway of all?

I gained the needed confidence to approach brands myself. 

As I mentioned above, my sponsored posts are the result of brands reaching out to me. With all that I’ve learned from this course, I’m excited to be reaching out to more brands that I’d love to work with. I’m creating a new media kit, from the module on Pitching, that showcases my strengths and my particular brand. And I’m crafting pitches that will bring me results.

I’m so pleased with the brand collaboration pictured below. I’m telling a story in the caption, not just spooning out information. And I feel like I included an eye-catching photo with it. This brand is very pleased with the results and that makes me happy.

I know I can continue to extend my reach, as a blogger and an influencer, as I create a business that supports the life I desire. LadyBossBlogger is a huge part of my journey.

My Big Takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger Course IG post
One of my most recent posts for a brand, practicing what I’ve learned.

The Giveaway

As promised, it’s time to announce the winner for the giveaway of a free course from LadyBossBlogger! Jump over to my Instagram post to see who the winner is.

And while I wish everyone could win a free course, I have something almost as good to offer. 

Use my promo code: CINDYMOORE to receive 40% off the price of the course. 

Click HERE to order your course at this incredible savings. Additionally, two and six month payment plans are available. 

I highly recommend LadyBossBlogger classes. Whether you are just beginning your blogging journey or like me, you’ve been blogging for a while and feel ready to go to the next level, you won’t be disappointed. Everyone can benefit from these courses. Everyone can learn to create their own unique brand and work with companies looking for influencers.

Working as an influencer is fun, rewarding and very doable, with help from Elaine. 

My Big Takeaways from the LadyBossBlogger Course Elaine
LadyBossBlogger

Free LadyBossBlogger Resources

 

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Deacon Brodie Edinburgh’s Real Life Jekyll and Hyde

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There’s a fun, popular pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Called Deacon Brodie’s Tavern, the pub serves up classic Scottish and British fare, an assortment of cask ales and a rich history. The tavern bears the name of one of Edinburgh’s most fascinating residents, William Brodie. A respectable cabinet maker by day, Brodie led a sordid secret life by night.

In fact, he’s commonly referred to as Deacon Brodie Edinburgh’s real life Jekyll and Hyde.

Read his stranger than fiction story!

Deacon Brodie Edinburghs Real Life Jekyll and Hyde title meme

Who is Deacon Brodie?

Born in Edinburgh on September 28, 1741, William Brodie was the son of a successful cabinetmaker and the grandson of two renowned lawyers.

William grew up in the trade, becoming a fine craftsman specializing in domestic furniture such as cabinets and cupboards. Additionally, he was a skilled locksmith.

Because of his talents and his family connections, Brodie served as a representative, or deacon, of the guild and a city councillor. This position of influence brought him respect throughout the city…and a great deal of business.

Brodie socialized with the gentry of Edinburgh. He met poet Robert Burns and painter Henry Raeburn and enjoyed a membership at Edinburgh Cape Club.

When his father died in 1768, young Brodie inherited 10,000 pounds, a fortune in those days, along with four houses and the family cabinetmaking business.

Deacon Brodie Edinburgh's Real Life Jekyll and Hyde tavern sign
Deacon Brodie Edinburgh’s Real Life Jekyll and Hyde – one of two tavern signs

A Dark Secret

While Deacon Brodie garnered respect during the day, at night he shifted into a darker life of crime.

Because of his work he gained access to the homes of Edinburgh’s wealthy citizens. Making wax impressions of the household keys allowed him to fashion duplicates, which meant he could return at night or while the owners were away, and commit robbery.

For more than a decade he led a double life, craftsman by day and thief at night. However after his father’s death, he took his criminal activities up a notch.

In spite of his inheritance, Brodie required more and more money to fund his gambling habits and expensive lifestyle. He also supported two mistresses and five children that he kept hidden from society. As he continued to run up debts at night, his respectable daytime business failed to keep up.

Deacon Brodie teamed up with three other criminals. Together they preyed on businesses and large private homes in Old Town. Growing bolder, they eventually attempted to steal the revenues of Scotland, at the Excise Office in Chessel’s Court.

The botched robbery resulted in only 16 pounds and the gang disbanded. One of the members turned in two of the others for a reward, while Brodie fled the country. Authorities found him hiding in a cupboard in Holland. He returned to Edinburgh to stand trial.

Deacon Brodie Edinburgh's Real Life Jekyll and Hyde second sign
Deacon Brodie Edinburgh’s Real Life Jekyll and Hyde – alter ego

The Trial

Deacon Brodie stood trial for theft, along with one of his accomplices. The trial lasted 21 hours.

Found guilty, he was hung on October 1, 1788, in Lawnmarket, just steps from his birthplace and childhood home. A sizable crowd of 40,000 gathered for the hanging.

Deacon Brodie appeared for his execution in high style, sporting fine, tailored clothes and a powdered wig. One tale suggests Brodie also wore a silver tube around his neck, beneath his finery, in an attempt to survive the hanging. He supposedly bribed the hangman to ignore the tube and arranged for others to quickly remove his body and revive him.

The plan failed. Brodie’s body rests in an unmarked grave at St. Cuthbert’s Chapel. He was 47 years old at the time of his death.

Deacon Brodie Edinburgh's Real Life Jekyll and Hyde painting
Deacon Brodie Edinburgh’s Real Life Jekyll and Hyde – painting

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Author Robert Louis Stevenson, whose father owned furniture made by Deacon Brodie, wrote a play called Deacon Brodie, The Double Life. Although the play was unsuccessful, Stevenson remained intrigued by Brodie’s double life. This paradox between the cabinetmaker’s light and dark personalities inspired him to write the novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydein 1886.

This tale became a classic, adapted throughout the years into films, musicals and plays.

In Edinburgh Deacon Brodie is remembered with the pub on the corner of Lawnmarket and Bank Street, and a close (covered alleyway) off of the Royal Mile called Brodie’s Close. The family’s residence and workshops were there.

Visit Deacon Brodie’s Tavern for a hearty, traditional meal and fascinating bits of Edinburgh’s darker history. The girls’ group I traveled with enjoyed a fun, leisurely dinner there and a couple of rounds of ale and cider.

The pub also serves breakfast and a delightful afternoon tea.

Have you heard of Deacon Brodie Edinburgh’s real life Jekyll and Hyde?

Deacon Brodie Edinburgh's Real Life Jekyll and Hyde drinks
Drinks and a meal at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern.

Deacon Brodie finds from Amazon:

 


 

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Next Level Blogging with LadyBossBlogger

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

Thank you LadyBossBlogger and Elaine Rau for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

 

I began my blogging journey seven years ago. What started as a fun hobby gradually transformed into a keen passion. That passion ignited a desire for a career in writing. 

I moved my blog from a free blogging site to a paid one. And I considered monetizing it. My big WHY, to earn a living working remotely from anywhere in the world and enjoy doing it, motivated me.

Eighteen months ago, I took my blogging down the path of monetization. Everything in my life shifted, in positive and exciting ways. There’s no stopping the momentum now, nor do I want to. 

In fact, I’m ready to go next level blogging with LadyBossBlogger and explore making more money as an influencer. In particular, through this amazing online course, I’m learning how to better create content on Instagram and connect with my audience there.

Next Level Blogging with LadyBossBlogger title meme

 

LadyBossBlogger Origins

Elaine Rau is the lady boss behind LadyBossBlogger. After launching a successful blog for female entrepreneurs, that quickly garnered more than 200,000 followers, Elaine created her own unique brand. She began teaching others how to make money as bloggers, influencers, and entrepreneurs through her online classes at LadyBossBloggerCourses.com.

How to Make Money as an Influencer

One thing that I learned quickly last year, as I expanded my blogging knowledge and abilities, is the importance of social media.

While Google plays a crucial role in driving traffic to a blog, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide a highly visible place to promote and market the blog. 

I’ve worked very diligently providing great content and connecting with my audience and with brands I love. As growth occurs on those social media platforms, growth follows on the blog. And, opportunities arrive.

One such opportunity came through LadyBossBlogger and the online course, How to Make Money as an Instagram Influencer. I’m thrilled to experience this course and learn new techniques for expanding my reach. 

I am so excited that I’m sharing what I’ve learned thus far in this sneak peek post and offering an amazing giveaway, in partnership with LadyBossBlogger. See the details at the end of the post.

Next Level Blogging with LadyBossBlogger
Next level blogging with LadyBossBlogger. I’ve already taken 11 pages of notes during this module!

What’s in the Make Money as an Instagram Influencer Course?

The course is divided into nine modules with multiple lessons in each:

  • Introduction – course overview and expectations
  • Branding –  all about creating a personal brand on Instagram
  • Content – the foundation of an Instagram post, great content
  • Pitching – creating the perfect pitch to brands
  • Brands – how to find brands to work with
  • Money – creating income as an influencer
  • Legal – all you need to know about the legal side of blogging and influencing
  • Conclusion – becoming an affiliate
  • Bonus – there are 12 INCREDIBLE exclusive bonuses at the end of the course, including checklists and how-to’s.

The lessons are well designed with high-quality content that is easy to understand. The modules build on each other, so that you can implement what you learn as you go.

Next Level Blogging with LadyBossBlogger computer
Taking it to the next level blogging with LadyBossBlogger.

What I’m Learning Through LadyBossBlogger

I’m loving this course. I’ve completed 25% of the material and I’m learning valuable tools for improving my Instagram account.

In the Branding Module, I am discovering how to better build my own personal brand, and why that matters. Part of that is creating an Instagram feed that beautifully represents who I am, what I do and what I offer to others.

I’m taking lots of notes as a way to highlight areas I intend to improve on or change. Information in the lesson “Costly Mistakes Everyone Makes with Their Bio” helped me to create a bio that tells more about what I offer to others.

I appreciate the wealth of information, tips and suggestions in this course. I’m serious about my blogging and committed to investing in myself.

After I complete the entire course, I’ll write another post. I’m excited to share more insights and results from implementing what I’m learning.

LadyBossBlogger Giveaway

Right now, I’m excited to share about a giveaway for a LadyBossBlogger blogging or influencer course! The contest runs until July 14, 2020.

One Instagram reader will win the course of her choice by following these simple rules:

  1. Follow me on Instagram @CindyLauderdaleMoore
  2. Follow @LadyBossBlogger
  3. And follow @ElaineRau
  4. Like this photo on Instagram and tag a friend
  5. Earn extra entries by tagging more friends

More details on the Instagram post. I look forward to awarding the winner on July 14!

40% OFF Any LadyBossBlogger Course

If you don’t want to wait for the giveaway, I have a great deal for you. Use my promo code: CINDYMOORE to receive 40% off the price of the course. 

Or click HERE to order your course at an incredible price. 

It will arrive in your email inbox and you can work through the modules and lessons at your own pace. Two month and six month payment plans are available.

Next Level Blogging with LadyBossBlogger course
Investing in myself and my business.

Invest in Yourself and Your Business

For years into my blogging journey, I traveled alone. As best I could, I figured things out for myself and built my blog and readership step by slow step. 

Don’t do that. There’s no reason to. It’s not noble… it’s time-consuming and mistakes get made.

The best thing I ever did for my blogging business was to invest in it by learning from others. Classes not only brought info and awareness, but they also introduced me to other amazing bloggers, who now journey alongside me.

Is it time for you to invest in yourself and your business? 

Are you ready to go next level blogging with LadyBossBlogger? 

You won’t regret such a powerful commitment to your blogging… and influencing… future.

 

Free LadyBossBlogger Resources

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with LadyBossBlogger. I may make a commission on products purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.

The Bridge of Sighs

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Ponte dei Sospiri…the Bridge of Sighs…just saying the name evokes emotions.

This bridge is one of many such structures that spans Venice’s canals. There are, in fact, 400 plus bridges crossing more than 150 canals in this unique city. Venice, Italy is a collection of tiny islands, connected by canals.

The oft photographed Bridge of Sighs draws a multitude of visitors each year. I enjoyed experiencing the beautiful and sorrowful covered bridge on a visit to Venice in 2017.

Discover the history of this iconic structure and learn how it received its name.

The Bridge of Sighs title meme

The History of the Bridge of Sighs

Built by Antonio Contin between 1600 and 1603, the Bridge of Sighs spans Rio di Palazzo. This baroque style, marble and Istrian stone bridge connects the inquisitor’s offices in the Doge’s Palace to the “New Prison”, a building designed specifically for detention.

Doge (Italian word for duke) Marino Grimani, whose family coat-of-arms occupies the center of the facade, commissioned the bridge.

While Ponte dei Sospiri attracts couples, who enjoy sharing a kiss near the covered bridge, it’s not romantic sighs that begat the name.

The name arose because prisoners stopped on the bridge and sighed at their last glimpse of beautiful Venice before entering the prison. The damp, cold, challenging conditions of the small cells often resulted in the deaths of the prisoners.

Peering out through the stone lattice windows, those escaping sighs surely carried regret, fear and grief.

The Bridge of Sighs closeup
The stone latticed windows in the Bridge of Sighs.

Stories About the Bridge of Sighs

Back to those romantic couples. The tale told is that if a couple kisses beneath the bridge, while riding in a gondola, their love will endure throughout eternity and they will know happiness. Some versions add that the couple must kiss at sunset, while drifting under the bridge, as the bells of St Mark’s Campanile ring out. As you can imagine, this is a busy route for gondolas.

The exterior of the bridge’s arch is adorned with faces on each side. A Venetian lion graces the middle, while ten other faces express anger or sadness. These grim faces supposedly scare evil spirits away. One happy face stands out. It is thought to represent the bridge’s guardian.

The bridge design is intentional, matching the style of the two buildings it connects. The Doge’s Palace, a huge, elegant palace overlooking St Mark’s Square, was the primary residence of the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, and the location of the city prison. The palace occupies the site of a former fortress that burned in the 10th century.

The Bridge of Sighs remains the only covered bridge in the entire city. Its passageway is topped by stone, with four windows looking out toward the San Giorgio Maggiore Island and the Lagoon. Very little light passes through the windows to brighten the dim, cool interior.

The Bridge of Sighs canal
The covered bridge spanning the canal.

Visiting the Bridge of Sighs

Views of the bridge are limited. See one of Venice’s most famous landmarks from these vantage points.

  • Admire the bridge from one of two nearby bridges. The Ponte della Paglia is located near the Doge’s Palace, as you stand with your back to the lagoon. The other bridge is the Ponte della Canonica at the other end of the canal.
  •  Enjoy a gondola ride that travels beneath the Bridge of Sighs.
  • Take a tour of the Doge’s Palace. The Bridge of Sighs is included in the tour and you get to walk across it and view the prison located on the other side.

Otherwise, the bridge is not open to the public. While it can be viewed from gondolas and the above mentioned bridges, the only opportunity to step inside the bridge is via the palace tour.

The Doge’s Palace is gorgeous and well worth a visit.

The Bridge of Sighs Doges Palace
A room in the Doge’s Palace.

My Experience Crossing the Bridge

My daughter, grandson and I were part of a travel group touring Italy. Our group enjoyed wandering through the Doge’s Palace with a guide. From an interior room, I got my first up close peek at the covered bridge and snapped a photo.

As we quietly entered the Bridge of Sighs, the energy within settled thickly around my head, shoulders and upper back, sending tingles down my spine.

It’s difficult to see much through the windows, however I paused there to reflect. Over the centuries, many, many prisoners walked this bridge and paused to sigh with despair. The bridge interior is actually divided by a wall down its middle, creating two corridors. That way, prisoners coming into the prison or going back to the courtroom for trial did not meet.

The atmosphere within the bridge felt very heavy to me, weighed down by those breathy final sighs. Sadness tinged with the fear of uncertainty surrounded me. The prison cells in the attached building were just as gloomy.

I’m grateful for the redemption of the bridge through its exterior beauty and the promise of romance beneath its splendid arch.

Have you visited the Bridge of Sighs in Venice? I intend to explore this unique city again one day!

The Bridge of Sighs faces

 

Amazon finds:

 


 

 

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Decorating 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.

Can you believe summer is here? This out of the ordinary year just keeps counting down, day by day.

I love that as the seasons change, a new box from Decocrated arrives at my front door, to help me create fresh looks in my house. It’s fun, mixing in pieces from previous boxes and my own decor, showcasing my unique style.

Check out what I did, decorating for summer with Decocrated!

Decorating for Summer with Decocrated title meme

The Decocrated Summer Home

The Decocrated staff works year around, researching trends, watching HGTV and scrolling through Pinterest, curating the best in home decor so that their clients look like decorating pros. Subscription boxes ship out at the beginning of each season, offering fresh decor pieces to incorporate into any decorating style.

The summer collection is built around a palette of sunshine yellow and clear blue, with accent colors of gray, cream, black and gold. The decor in this box combines light natural wood and gold finishes with homey textiles.

The featured artists for summer are Kate Aurelia and Kasey Free. This duo met in college and combine their talents to create art inspired by nature and travels. They work with a mixture of techniques, from traditional paintings to collage to digital art.

Decocrated Featured Artists Kate and Kasey
Featured Artists Kate and Kasey

Decorating for Summer with Decocrated

Check out the fun unboxing video below if you want the surprise element before seeing how I used the pieces.

Shelf Top

I use the top shelf on this bookcase for seasonal decor. Except for Christmas, when the whole bookcase gets a makeover, I simply swap out a piece or two to reflect the new season.

I changed the runner on the shelf from a blue one to a red one. Leaving the framed print from the Decocrated spring box and my wooden inspire sign in place, I focused on the wood and metal tray, set on its side.

The fun trio of faux succulents nestle into a corner of the tray, sharing space with a cute print from Walmart. From the spring box as well, the gold canister holds another artificial succulent.

The vignette is playful and colorful and simple. It makes me smile!

Decorating for Summer with Decocrated shelf top
Decorating for Summer with Decocrated – shelf top
Colorful Succulents
Colorful Succulents

Two Vignettes

I love that so far, each seasonal box contains pillow covers for standard 18″x18″ pillows. It’s so easy to switch the covers on the two pillows I own.

Initially I created a fresh summer vignette on the vintage wooden chair near my armoire, using a mix of items from THREE Decocrated boxes. The pillows, in their sunny yellow covers, rest nearby in a vintage army trunk that belonged to my grandfather.

The mirror from the summer box features a natural light wood frame and has a metal chain for hanging. I decided to stand it up instead and include it in a vignette.

The gold tray and canisters arrived in the spring box. I tucked another faux succulent in one canister and added tiny artificial lemons and a yellow flower to the shorter one. The table top sign from the winter box rests easily on the round tray.

Decorating for Summer with Decocrated chair vignette
Decorating for Summer with Decocrated – chair vignette and pillows

I loved the overall look. However, one of the fun elements of decorating is playing with what you have and moving things around.

I moved the chair vignette to the entry way table, recreating the look atop a yellow checkered cloth. That’s where the vignette stayed. I love that the mirror reflects filtered sunlight coming in through the window across the room and the greenery there.

Which location do you like best?

Table Top Vignette
Decorating for Summer with Decocrated – table top vignette

Dining Room Table

Finally, I shifted my attention to my round dining table. Confession. I never eat at the dining room table. Instead, I decorate it, creating seasonal vignettes. I prefer walking by the table and receiving joy from the decor there.

As soon as I saw the two tray stand in the summer box, I envisioned my tea pot and cups on it. How fun to create a tea themed vignette on the stand, adding a sugar and creamer set along with a matching bowl full of more lemons. A votive candle holder and a couple of yellow flowers complete the look.

Tiered Stand
Tiered Stand with Two Trays

That tray is so versatile. I’ll use if for real tea times or to hold healthy snacks. And I’ll certainly decorate it for each season. It makes a cute coffee center or a receptacle for a variety of collections. The possibilities are endless.

The gold planter from the summer box is versatile as well. Hang it on the wall and add real or artificial plants or note cards and pens or art supplies. I chose to set it on the table next to the tiered tray. Different faux succulents fill one side of the planter while the other end holds lemons.  A gold canister from the spring box holds another succulent.

Gold Planter
Decorating for Summer with Decocrated – gold planter

Completing the vignette is the artist print from the summer box, tucked within a white frame with a cream and gold mat. The whole vignette rests atop the blue and white summer rug. I’m using it as a table runner.

Decorating for Summer with Decocrated vignette
Decorating for Summer with Decocrated – table vignette

Get the Decocrated Summer Box

These high quality subscription boxes are so fun! I look forward to the arrival of each box.

Not knowing what’s inside is part of the anticipation. I’ve already learned that I enjoy using whatever arrives, in many different ways. I love how Decocrated pieces are freshening up my decor and firing up my creativity.

Click this link for the Decocrated Summer Box, and use this discount code for $10 off the price of your first box:  CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10 

Or use CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE30 to receive $30 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 Halloween!

What will you do with your Decocrated decor?

Decorating for Summer with Decocrated picnic
The roomy bag from the spring box held my picnic lunch recently, on a road trip! The summer rug made the perfect table cover.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Philbrook Museum Gardens

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One thing that I confirmed, while staying home more due to the pandemic, is that I REALLY want to travel. Feeling the itch to travel, during a time when travel as we know it isn’t possible, presented unique opportunities.

Since I can’t hop on a plane to somewhere, I channeled my desire to travel into other ventures.

I’m taking an online travel blogging course. And as a result, I’m writing weekly travel posts, based on past trips. Check out this example, The Tower of London Ravens. Today happened to be Take a Road Trip Day. Inspired, I set out on a road trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Philbrook Museum Gardens. Childhood memories of the museum drew me back to explore the gardens, which just reopened Wednesday. The museum is not yet open again to the public.

The Philbrook Museum Gardens were everything I remembered them to be…and more.

Philbrook Museum Gardens title meme

History of the Philbrook Museum of Art

The original museum is a former 1920s Italian Renaissance villa, owned by pioneer Waite Phillips and his wife Genevieve. Kansas City architect Edward Buehler Delk designed Villa Philbrook. Construction began in 1926 and the house was completed the following year.

A stucco and ground marble exterior covers a reinforced steel and concrete framework. Kasota limestone, quarried in Minnesota, forms the corners and decorates doors and windows. At the rear of the house a spacious loggia with Corinthian columns overlooks the spectacular gardens.

The original villa featured 72 interior rooms, decorated with travertine and marble fireplaces and fountains, teak, walnut and oak floors and ornate ceilings.

In 1938 Phillips donated Villa Philbrook to the City of Tulsa, for use as a cultural and art center. Although the rooms on the main floor remain as they were, the rest of the villa received extensive remodeling for use as a public museum. In 1990 another wing expanded the museum, adding 70,000 square feet of space.

Philbrook Museum
Looking through the informal and formal gardens, to the former Villa Philbrook.
Philbrook Museum Gardens grand fountain
Philbrook Museum gardens – grand fountain and the loggia

The Philbrook Museum Gardens

Although I enjoy wandering through the former villa, imagining it as it was back when the family lived there, it is the gardens that appeal most to me.

The museum sits on 25 acres of formal and informal gardens. Originally designed by Hare & Hare, Philbrook’s gardens drew inspiration from Villa Lante, an Italian estate north of Rome.

Behind the museum, the original gardens extend through an expanse of formal gardens, pools of water and informal gardens to a classical tempietto, a stone structure similar to a large gazebo.

The gardens that extend to the summerhouse feature native Oklahoma plants and a nearby creek. This project completed in 2004.

Philbrook Museum Loggia
Looking from the loggia to the tempietto. It was the perfect spot for Ferni’s first travel photo.
Philbrook Museum Gardens tempietto
Looking across the pools to the tempietto. The far pool once served as the family swimming pool. Koi swim there now.
Philbrook Museum side garden
Another pool in the informal gardens.

Take a Tour with Me

Come with me on a photo tour of the Philbrook Museum Gardens. My desire is just to stir your curiosity. These gardens must be experienced, to fully appreciate them.

Italian style gardens
The Italian influence is seen in the main gardens.

Sculptures

There are 16 sculptures scattered throughout the gardens. They range from classical styles to contemporary. Here are three of them.

Philbrook Museum sculpture 2
Philbrook Museum Gardens sculptures – Nymph Holding Pluto
Philbrook Museum Gardens sculpture
Native American
Philbrook Museum Gardens woods
Tree sculptures in a wooded area. The orange leaves are made of glass.

Garden Cats and Wildlife

The garden is home to two cats, Cleome, a black and white, and Perilla, a calico. We saw Cleome, wandering about near the upper pond. She seemed intent on stalking something near the water. She reminded me of Rilynn, my garden cat!

And Greg and I spotted a variety of wildlife, including red squirrels, rabbits, a heron and several species of birds. The gardens are home to turtles, water snakes, foxes and beavers as well.

Garden cat
Cleome the Philbrook Museum Garden cat.
Wildlife at Philbrook
Heron in Crow Brook

Summerhouse Formal Garden

This area south of the museum underwent changes throughout the years. Officially completed after the family donated the property to Tulsa, this formal garden leads to a summerhouse. There are swings and benches along the pretty avenue.

Restrooms are located near the summerhouse. Greg gave the restrooms a five star rating! They are very clean. I posed on a rope swing in the little wooded area, From there steps descend to the path below.

Philbrook Museum Gardens summerhouse
Summerhouse formal gardens
Greg carrying our picnic lunch
Greg carrying our picnic lunch in my Decocrated bag.
Philbrook Museum Gardens swing
Swinging in the Philbrook Museum Gardens

Picnic in the Park

Multiple picnic areas exist in the park. Tables, benches, grottos and expanses of grass offer pretty spots to pause for lunch or a snack. We chose to stop for a picnic near the cabin next to the vegetable garden. The cabin is created from repurposed materials, including colorful t-shirts stiffened with resin for the roof.

Picnic time
Picnic time in the gardens. Bag from Decocrated spring box. Rug from Decocrated summer box. Watch for a review post of the summer box Monday.
Picnic lunch
Simple, healthy picnic lunch. Gluten free crackers, hummus, an assortment of pickles and olives, grapes, cherries and KIND nut clusters with almonds and coconut.
Philbrook Museum Gardens cabin
Cabin made from repurposed materials. Note the t-shirt roof!

Tiny Doors

As we wandered the grounds, looking for tiny doors attached to some of the trees, became a fun game. Fortunately, small green flags indicate where the doors are. Local artists created the little works of art and each door is unique.

Kids would enjoy this tiny door scavenger hunt.

In search of tiny doors
Looking for tiny doors in the Philbrook Museum Gardens.
Philbrook Museum Gardens tiny doors
One of at least a dozen tiny doors in the Philbrook Museum Gardens.

First Road Trip…But Not the Last

What a wonderful morning spent at Philbrook Museum Gardens. It’s uncertain when the main museum will open again, although special exhibits are opening July 1. However the gardens are available and well worth a visit. Purchase tickets online, selecting a date and time of entry. Masks are recommended, especially when entering the garden, talking to a staff member or encountering other visitors.

We found the park easily accommodated the number of visitors today.  People and staff were courteous and respectful of social distancing.

This was my first Road Trip Friday…but not my last. I may not be able to travel far, however, I can enjoy day road trips. My intention is one road trip, within 150 miles of Joplin, a month. My little VW Van will accompany me. Her name is Ferni, pronounced fairn-ee, from the German word fernweh, which means “longing for far off places”.

Beauty speaks to the heart and soul, I believe. And the Philbrook gardens spoke clearly today, soothing my spirit and reminding me of joys I experienced there as a child. In fact, I see Philbrook’s strong influence on my own desire to create a backyard paradise.

I even found a park bench that perfectly captures who I am now, inscribed with these words from Thomas Arthur Manhart:

“Learning something new everyday is what life is really all about.”

I left the gardens with a smile on my face and joy in my heart.

Philbrook Museum Gardens path to the museum
I can’t get enough of this view…

Visit Philbrook Museum Gardens

Philbrook Museum is located at 2727 S Rockford Road, Tulsa, Oklahoms.

Hop on their website HERE to order tickets, which are $6.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors and free for children 17 and under.

Want your own little VW van to travel with? Get one by clicking photo below.

 

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