When Travel Plans Go Awry

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I spend many hours planning a trip and months anticipating the fulfillment of those plans. That’s part of the fun of traveling.

And yet, invariably, I encounter snags during the trip, when travel plans go awry. I’ve learned that when the unexpected happens, staying open and going with the flow helps me to find the good in the situation. New opportunities usually arrive. And at the very least, I learn from the experience.

These five lessons learned during recent trips offer great examples of well laid plans going awry and the take aways from each experience.

When Travel Plans Go Awry title meme 2

 

GPS Failure

Using a smart phone equipped with GPS is a popular way of getting around in unfamiliar places. Most of the time, GPS is reliable and accurate, taking me where I want to go without a problem.

What happens though when GPS fails? Then the journey gets interesting, or at least it did in 2017 while traveling by car in Scotland.

My sister Debbie bravely volunteered to drive our girls’ group around that gorgeous country. Remember that compared to the US, traffic flows on the opposite side of the road in Scotland and the steering wheel is on the right, rather than the left. Debbie expertly drove us all over the country, relying on the car’s built in GPS system to guide us to where we wanted to go.

Are We Lost?

Except….one day it didn’t. Driving from the Sterling area northward into the Highlands, with the Isle of Skye as our ultimate destination, we suddenly realized we were approaching the Firth of Forth. The iconic Forth Bridge appeared, paralleled by the newly built but not yet open Queensferry Crossing.

We knew then we were headed the wrong way. And this time, my sister was not at fault. (See Wrong Way Sister for more about my sister’s challenges with directions.) However, the magic began as we crossed the Firth of Forth and entered the Kingdom of Fife.

Both bridges and Fife were on my “must see” list for Scotland. And yet, I didn’t expect to see them this trip. As the rest of us appreciated the views of the bridges and the forth, Debbie startled us by exclaiming, “What is that?”

Looking toward the front of the car, expecting to see a bus careening toward us, my mouth dropped open in surprise at the sight ahead. Two large, gleaming horse heads towered over the trees. We “accidentally” stumbled upon the amazing Kelpies, 30 meter tall sculptures of Scotland’s mythical shape shifting water spirits. We were enchanted. And I got to check another item off my list.

Lesson Learned

Sometimes the GPS fails. Sometimes we get lost. And yet, that’s okay. Getting off track might lead to a new adventure or unexpected experiences. We never figured out why the GPS failed that day. It worked perfectly the remainder of our time in Scotland. I am grateful though for the detour. I’ll never forget the wonder of seeing those majestic Kelpies.

When Travel Plans Go Awry kelpies
When travel plans go awry…you find Kelpies

We All Fall Down

Or maybe I should say, two of us fell down. On the girls’ trip through the UK, in 2017, we almost didn’t make it out of the US.

At the Atlanta airport, the stuff of nightmares happened. Riding the escalators down a level, my sisters exited, pulling their carry ons behind them. My niece Ashley followed a few steps behind my mother and me. Like many people, I get a bit nervous as the escalator stairs disappear at the end, knowing I need to time my step off correctly. As I pulled my carry on closer to me and prepared to disembark, I saw my mother falling.

In slow motion, it seemed, Mom’s legs folded and she sunk toward the steps. Panicking, I reached over to pull her up. That was a mistake. Her carry on toppled, knocking my legs out from under me and down we both went, on the moving escalator.

Do you know that 17,000 people receive serious injuries each year, while on escalators and elevators? And 30 people die? I didn’t know the stats, as Mom and I fell. However, I knew that clothing and hair getting caught in escalators are the main causes of injury or death.

We Get Back Up

Instinctively, I stuck my legs into the air and curled my upper torso upward, trying to keep pant legs and my long hair from getting snagged. Mom’s snacks from her purse bounced by me. It felt important at the time to grab the container of hummus. My niece and the man behind her bounded up the escalator stairs, searching for an emergency OFF button. They never found one.

Somehow, I flipped over onto my hands and knees and crawled off the escalator. Debbie helped our mother up. We felt shaken, and received scratches and bruises, however we didn’t sustain any serious injuries. Well, my carry on was a goner. The fabric suitcase did get caught and it tore. However, tape held it together until I returned home.

I still shudder when I think about that experience.

Ironically, the trip ended with another fall, this time on the London Tube. It was my fault. I stood near a pole with my suitcase. Thankfully, my mother found a seat. When the announcement comes to hold on because the tube is departing, they mean HOLD ON. I fiddled with my carry on a moment too long. The sudden movement threw me off balance and I smashed into the closest wall, cracking ribs. Thankfully a man caught me and halted my journey onward to the floor. It took three months for my ribs to heal.

Lesson Learned

Never let your mother step onto an escalator pulling a carry on!  If someone falls, get yourself off the escalator and then turn to help the other person. Also, practice awareness on escalators and subways. Keep luggage secured. Lack of attention may result in pain and injury. And that’s not a fun way to start or end a trip.

When Travel Plans Go Awry london tube
When travel plans go awry – Mom seated on the London Tube, bless her

We Can’t Control What We Can’t Control

Weather played a significant role in several of my travel plans that shifted.

Tornadoes on the ground in Charlotte, North Carolina diverted the plane my grandson, daughter and I traveled on, during the first leg of our journey to Italy. We stayed in Chattanooga, Tennessee until the all clear sounded in Charlotte. However, we missed our connecting flight to Rome. Thousands of people missed their connecting flights.

The resulting storm of emotions inside the airport rivaled the storms outside. We witnessed crying, angry words, displays of temper and glum resignation. Rather than join the masses, we chose to stay calm and hopeful and open to opportunities. On a night when very few people flew out of Charlotte, we ended up on a plane to London. And from there, we journeyed on to Rome. We missed our welcome dinner however we arrived in time for the start of our tour. I believe miracles happened that night in Charlotte. Read the whole incredible story HERE.

Weather Delay Allows A Problem to Surface

Last year, Debbie and I found ourselves stuck in an airplane out on the tarmac at JFK Airport in New York City. Thunderstorms kept us grounded for five hours. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Shortly before we were cleared for takeoff, a horrible clanging noise filled the cabin. One terrified woman stood up and demanded to get off the plane.

It turned out a mechanic problem surfaced, as we waited for the weather to clear. Imagine if that problem had occurred, out over the Atlantic? Grounded as we were, mechanics ably corrected the issue and at last we took off, in the middle of the night. We arrived late in Edinburgh, and yet thankfully, we arrived safely.

Allergies in Italy

And one non-weather related incident happened in Italy, during the trip with my daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan. We discovered that Dayan is allergic to the flowering vine, jasmine. In late May and early June, jasmine is everywhere in Italy, vining over stone walls, archways and buildings. This situation, totally out of our control, necessitated new strategies. We kept hotel windows closed at night, avoided the vine as much as possible in villages and accepted that Dayan might sneeze…often.

Lesson Learned:

We really can’t control much of anything, and certainly not the weather or mechanical problems or allergic reactions to flowering plants. Staying open to possibilities and in the flow of life, and disconnecting from outcomes, frees us to accept what is and move forward. Believing there is a reason for everything, even if I can’t see what the reason is, allows trust to grow.

When Travel Plans Go Awry jasmin
When travel plans go awry – some people sneeze due to jasmine

It’s Closed

In spite of well researched plans, disappointments may occur. On the girls’ trip to the UK, everyone picked places to see and things to do. We found it very doable to please five different people by giving everyone a say in what we did.

In Dublin, Ireland, my mother chose Trinity College Library for us to visit. Built in 1592, the library houses the Brian Boru harp, Ireland’s national symbol, and the Book of Kells, considered one of the country’s national treasures. This ancient manuscript, created in 800 AD, contains the four gospels of the New Testament.

We arrived at the library a few minutes after it closed! Unfortunately, we flew out of Ireland the next day, Scotland bound.

In Edinburgh, we couldn’t get into Real Mary King’s Close or into a crowded Elephant House cafe. And in London, a sign on the door of the dungeons beneath the Tower of London proclaimed them closed for maintenance.

Lesson Learned:

We pre-selected certain activities but in the case of the Dublin library, we didn’t prioritize it that day. Mary King’s Close was a spur of the moment attempt and we had no control over the busyness of the Elephant House or the dungeons’ maintenance work. However, the library should have been first on our activity list for the day, not toward the end of it.

I like spontaneity while traveling. Yet there is a place for order, especially when scheduling tours or group activities. We learned to do both: arrive on time for events and wander freely when the desire to explore called. And when met with a “no” we always found other places to go and things to see.

When Travel Plans Go Awry trinity college library
When travel plans go awry – you miss touring Trinity College Library

Missed Opportunities

This is an important personal realization I’ve had, as I travel. Don’t let opportunities slip away. It’s one thing to miss getting into a building because it is closed or too crowded. It’s another to walk away by choice and then regret the decision.

Sometimes, my reasons for missing an experience are physical. My back hurt from lugging a huge suitcase around, the day my cousins climbed to the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. I stayed behind and rested at the bed and breakfast. Five months later, one of those dear cousins passed away. I missed the opportunity to experience Arthur’s Seat with her.

I chose to stay on the ground in Italy too, while my daughter and grandson climbed the bell towers in the little villages we visited. Sure, I might have huffed and puffed my way to the top. Now, I think about the magnificent views I missed.

The three of us were too tired to walk to Trevi Fountain in Rome, having arrived so late the night before. My coin for the fountain remained in my pocket. And we stayed out of a gondola in Venice, because those rides are mostly sought out by romantic couples. Who cares? We did, while in Venice. Now, I wished I’d gone for a gondola ride alone, if no one else wanted to go.

I’ve visited Edinburgh three times and still have not experienced the Royal Military Tattoo, where bands of pipers and drummers perform in their tartans at the castle. Why haven’t I?

And…I never, ever take enough photos as I travel.

Lesson Learned:

This lesson is a big one for me, as I desire to live a life without regrets. If I want to DO something, then DO it. On my most recent trip to Edinburgh last July, I visited Dean Village, the Botanical Gardens and Calton Hill, all places I’ve wanted to see that I’ve missed before.

We don’t always get second or third chances. I’m learning to step up and do what I want to do, in all areas of my life. I want to write. So, I’m writing. I want to travel. So, I’m traveling. I want to visit the Edinburgh Christmas Market. So, I will make that happen.

I’m telling myself, don’t wait. If it is important, find a way to do all that I desire to do. Be ready, when opportunities arrive. And capture those magical moments with photos….lots of them.

When Travel Plans Go Awry gondola
When travel plans go awry – you miss riding in the gondola

The Traveler

Life is a journey…and for me, journeying through travel is life. I acknowledge and accept my gypsy soul and my wild heart. It is time to release the wildness and go where my heart will take me. And to take along the many lessons I’m learning as I travel.

Have you had travel plans go awry? Share your stories in the comments below!

When Travel Plans Go Awry on the tarmac
When travel plans go awry – tired but in good spirits, waiting for the storm to pass

Travel Finds from Amazon:

 


 

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Create Your Own Compost

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Composting is the process of decomposing organic material into a soil conditioner. Added to enrich soil, this nutrient rich humus restores vitality and helps plants grow. Plus, it’s good for the environment. Composting recycles kitchen and yard waste, diverting as much as 30% from the garbage can and landfills.

It’s simple to create your own compost, using a bin or container.

Create Your Own Compost title meme

Creating a Composting Bin

Several methods exist for creating simple composting bins.

Drill holes around the base of a heavy duty garbage can. Add organic material to the bin and stir every two weeks.

Build a simple box from wooden boards or slats. Make it at least 3 feet square and no more than waist high. Set it on bare ground, to encourage insects and earthworms to burrow in. If wild animals or the neighbor’s dogs getting into the bin is a concern, add chicken wire or pig wire to the top. Add organic material and stir to aerate every two weeks.

There are more elaborate systems out there that incorporate three bins for mixing, turning and storing. These aren’t necessary however if that design appeals to you, go for it! Google composting bins or search on Pinterest for ideas.

Or you can purchase composting bins from garden centers. If you don’t have the simple tools to build one, this is a quick option to get you started.

Create Your Own Compost
Create your own compost – my simple DIY wooden bin.

What Goes Into the Compost Bin?

Once your composting bin is set up, start adding kitchen and garden waste. The trick is to balance “green” waste such as vegetable and fruit scraps with “brown” material such as dry leaves, newspapers and cardboard. This is important because green materials supply nitrogen to the mix while brown materials are rich in carbon. Carbon feeds the organisms that break down the scraps and nitrogen builds the cell structure of the newly formed soil enrichment.

The compost pile also needs oxygen and water. Without oxygen the pile will simply rot and smell. Moisture helps the organic material break down. Sprinkle the compost frequently if it hasn’t rained. And stir up the compost as it breaks down, to help air move through the mixture.

Earthworms are welcome allies to the compost pile as they help to aerate and break down matter. I have TONS of huge earthworms in my garden. I toss some into the compost pile as I weed and undercover them.

Create Your Own Compost earthworms
Earthworms are welcome allies in the compost bin

Green, Nitrogen Rich Waste to Add

The healthy compost pile needs more carbon than nitrogen in the mix. Too much nitrogen creates a dense, smelly mixture that decomposes too slowly. The bulkiness of carbon material helps oxygen move through the mixture and nourishes the organisms living there.

A good rule of thumb is one third green nitrogen waste to two thirds brown carbon materials.

Create Your Own Compost scraps
Create your own compost – scraps

Check out these lists of green and brown materials

Brown/Carbon Materials to Add:

  • wood chips, pellets, bark
  • straw or hay
  • shrub, tree trimmings
  • shredded paper including newspapers
  • cardboard, torn into strips
  • pine needles (use in moderation)
  • leaves, chopped or shredded is best, or create a separate pile for leaves
  • dryer lint (best if from natural materials)
  • corn cobs, stalks
Create Your Own Compost newspapers
Create your own compost – newspapers

Green/Nitrogen Material to Add:

  • tea leaves and paper tea bags
  • table scraps
  • seaweed and kelp
  • lawn and garden weeds, that have not gone to seed
  • grass clippings
  • green leaves
  • garden plants that have not died of disease
  • fruit and vegetable scraps
  • flower cuttings
  • coffee grounds (earthworms love these) and coffee filters
  • eggshells (which are really more neutral)
Create Your Own Compost saving scraps
Create your own compost – saving scraps

Don’t Add These Materials:

  • meat, bones, fish, dairy products
  • fats, cooking oils, grease
  • perennial or diseased plants
  • dog, cat or human poop or cat litter
  • black walnut leaves
  • machine or chain oils
  • sawdust unless it’s clean and then add sparingly
  • plastics
  • plastic coated paper or cardboard
  • anything treated with pesticides
  • charcoal

Tips to Create a Successful Compost

A few additional tips as you create your own compost.

Collect food, fruit and vegetable scraps in the house. I use a 21 cup plastic container that I already had on hand. Any container with a lid works. Because I am plant based, I can easily fill up my container in a day so I empty it every evening. When adding organic scraps, toss in carbon materials too such as newspapers, cardboard or leaves.

I love making my own veggie broth so most of my vegetable scraps go into containers in the freezer for this purpose. However I use the leftovers from juicing and blemished produce or veggies past their prime for composting.

Chop larger yard and garden wastes, to help them break down more quickly. And leaves and grass are excellent for the compost, however don’t add them in thick layers or they will clump together, slowing down aeration.

Use a spading fork to turn the mixture every week or two. If organic matter isn’t breaking down, add more green material and keep the pile moist.

If the compost pile is too wet and smelly, add more brown material and turn the mixture more frequently.

Create Your Own Compost
Create your own compost – after a month or so, this compost is coming along nicely

How to Use Your Compost

Your compost is ready to use when it looks and smells like dirt! This can take a couple of months or more, depending on what’s in your mixture.

Incorporate your rich new compost into garden beds or sprinkle it on top of the ground. Compost isn’t a replacement for soil but an amendment that nurtures it and your plants.

It’s that easy to create your own compost! Feel good about enriching your garden and easing the burden of wastes on landfills. And if you have any questions, ask in the comments.

Recycle or Compost

Other Posts in the Backyard Garden Series:

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden

Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

Gardening Finds 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.

Lions of Venice

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

Venice is a magical city, with its lagoon, canals and bridges. I realized a lifelong dream when I visited in 2017 with my grandson and daughter. One of the things I noticed as I wandered around the city was the abundance of lions. The more I looked, the more of the majestic beasts I saw. In fact, the lions of Venice are everywhere, carved in stone, gracing archways and serving as knockers on doors.

The lion symbolizes courage, power and strength, all important attributes for the Venentians. The winged lion, so predominant in Venice, also represents the city’s patron saint, Mark.

Check out some of the stories around the Lions of Venice, in this Tales from Italy post, and a few of my photos capturing them throughout the city.

Lions of Venice title meme

The Lion of St Mark

According to early traditions, each of the evangelists who authored a gospel in the Bible is represented by a winged creature. The winged lion represents Mark. Many of the Venetian lions scattered throughout the city, therefore, display wings and hold an open book beneath a paw. Sometimes the head is wreathed in a halo.

The ancient winged sculpture, atop one of two tall pillars in Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square), in Venice, has come to symbolize the city as well.

A long history accompanies that bronze statue. Originally created in 300 BC, the winged lion came to Venice in the 12th century. Over the centuries, many repairs occurred around the sculpture’s core. The lion even left Venice for a time, during Napoleon’s conquest of the Venetian Republic in 1797. Badly damaged, it returned after Napoleon’s downfall.

Today the lion presides over the square, and the city, a symbol of strength. The flag of Venice carries the image and a golden lion is given as the prize at the yearly Venice International Film Festival.

Lions of Venice pillars
Lions of Venice – the two pillars in Saint Mark’s Square
Lions of Venice flag
Lions of Venice – gold lion on a red background forms the Venetian flag

Haunted Lions

Near the Arsenal, stone lions stand guard. As part of their plunder, the seated lion arrived in Venice in 1687, after the Venetians battled the Ottomans. Runes decorate the lion’s marble flanks causing the locals to believe that the lion possessed magical powers.

According to the story, in November 1719, after a mighty storm, the torn bodies of two sailors showed up near the lions. A short time later, after another storm, a third body appeared, bearing wounds created by wild animals.

During the next storm, officials hid nearby and watched as a merchant with the reputation of a sorcerer laid his hands on the runes and brought the stone lions to life. He sent the beasts after another victim, however when an official stabbed the merchant with a sword, the lions turned back into statues.

One of the statues continued to roar however. An official cut off the head, to silence it. And indeed, one of the statues obviously wears a head not original to the sculpture. Beware these statues, during stormy nights in November!

Lions of Venice arsenal
Lions of Venice – haunted statues in front of the arsenal

The Lions of Saint Mark’s Square

Although lions adorn buildings, arches and towers all over Venice, one of the best places to spot them is in the city’s huge piazza. Considered one of the finest squares in the world, Saint Mark’s is surrounded on three sides by public buildings. The fourth side is occupied by Saint Mark’s Basilica, the magnificent former chapel of the Doges and the equally impressive palace. Both feature lions, outside and inside.

 

Lions of Venice St Marks Basilica
Lions of Venice – golden lion on Saint Mark’s Basilica
Lions of Venice palace
Lions of Venice – a carved lion over the palace entrance

The brick bell tower for the basilica, called the campanile, is so tall that ships used it to guide them home. Look up high for the lion. This one wears a golden halo.

And the impressive clock tower, built between 1496 and 1499, features a mosaic of gold stars glittering against a blue background. The Lion of Saint Mark was added in 1755.  Two bronze Moors strike the bell to mark the hours. I caught the Moors in action. See the video at the end of the post.

Lions of Venice tower
Lions of Venice – bell tower in the square
Lions of Venice clock bell tower
Lions of Venice – clock tower

And, don’t leave the piazza without getting a selfie with the red lions. Located next to Saint Mark’s Basilica is a little square called Piazzetta dei Leoncini. It is home to two lions sculpted in the eighteenth century from Verona marble. These sturdy lions practically beg for children and the young at heart to climb astride. My grandson and I settled for standing beside one.

Lions of Venice - red marble
Lions of Venice – red marble lions

Lions, Lions Everywhere

Truly, lions lurk everywhere in Venice. Our hotel, a 13th century former palace located next to Saint Mark’s Square, boasted a lion door knocker and doorbell. A carved lion face peered out from the building adjacent to our hotel.

Door Knocker in Venice
Lions of Venice – door knocker
Palazzo Selvadego doorbell
Lions of Venice – our hotel doorbell

In fact, carved lion faces abound in Venice. Some of them resemble mailboxes with open mouths . In the past, a citizen could secretly accuse someone of a crime by writing his name on a slip of paper and placing it in the lion’s mouth. Special magistrates collected the accusations and acted on them.

A stern lion’s face even peers down from the sadly beautiful Bridge of Sighs.

Lions of Venice bridge of sighs
Lions of Venice – bridge of sighs with lion’s head in the middle

Lions of Venice

The lions on display in Venice contribute to its magical atmosphere. It’s fun to look for them and see the variety of sculptures, carvings and paintings. Searching for lions makes a great scavenger hunt for kids and adults. Many of them have ancient stories associated with them.

Have you been to this beautiful city? Did you notice the lions of Venice?

 


 

 

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.

 

 

 

Plants Gone Wild

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

Gardening is an adventure and a journey. No two gardens are exactly alike and no two journeys are either. I’ve learned over the years, as a gardener, from successes and mistakes.

One of the first things I learned is that some plants thrive, to the point that they can overtake a garden, crowding out other plants and hogging water and nutrients. This is my list of plants gone wild!

 

Plants Gone Wild title meme

Be Aware

Planting is purely a matter a choice, which is why my subtitle is “be aware of these invasive perennials” rather than “beware”. I choose to include a few invasive perennials, because I appreciate their beauty. I control their prolific spread. Others I dug up and removed because the effort to keep them in check proved too great.

With awareness, you can decide what works best for your garden. Check out your gardening zone. And then be aware that the following plants may spread into other areas of your garden or yard.

Liriope

This plant officially counts as my first big gardening mistake. From east and southeast Asia, this low growing plant is often used by landscapers to border a walkway or edge a flower bed. Liriope produces green or variegated grass like leaves, and stalks of purple flowers. And it thrives…in full sun or partial shade, in a wide range of soil conditions and it’s drought resistant. Perfect, right?

Liriope is optimistically called a “vigorous grower”, meaning it quickly overruns its boundaries and invades other areas. Using landscape edging or other barriers can help restrict it, however I found it too difficult to control. Even after years of weeding it out of flower beds in the front yard, it still shows up.

Plants Gone Wild liriope
Plants gone wild – liriope

English Ivy

And this classic beauty was my second big gardening boo boo. My grandson and I purchased one small ivy plant, years ago, and lovingly tucked it into a corner of a flower bed near the front deck. That ivy plant became a monster, covering all other plants in the bed and consuming them. Well, it didn’t literally eat them. However, ivy chokes other plants, depriving them of sunlight. They die.

Ivy is an evergreen woody vine. It is extremely aggressive, vining and climbing over other plants, shrubs, trees and even buildings. It took me a great deal of time to remove the ivy that spread from that one tiny plant. I’ve learned that the safest way to grow ivy is in a container…indoors!

Plants Gone Wild ivy
Plants gone wild – my glacier ivy in a pot

Creeping Jenny

Any plant name that contains the word “creeping” implies a warning…this plant spreads! Creeping jenny is considered a ground cover that tolerates both shade and sunlight. It’s a pretty yellow green in color and it’s commonly used to fill in areas where other plants won’t grow.

I added creeping jenny for exactly that reason, in a shady area with shallow soil. It thrives there and has indeed filled in the area. Because it’s in a contained space, I simply watch for it to encroach into the neighboring area, and pull it up when it does. For me, this easy to care for plant is worth having in my garden.

Plants Gone Wild creeping jenny
Plants gone wild – creeping jenny

Goldflame Spirea

Commonly called Japanese spirea, this mounding shrub is simple to grow. The goldflame variety produces showy leaves and clusters of pink flowers. It tolerates full sun to light shade and handles heat well. Spirea bushes are aggressive self seeders, however, and can escape a garden if not tended. They’ve naturalized in areas of the eastern US.

I love my goldflame spirea though. The leaves are brilliantly hued, from bronzes, golds and reds in spring to to yellow-green in summer to finishing with copper and crimson shades in autumn. Plus, the flowers attract butterflies. I keep my spirea in check by pruning it back to the ground during the winter. I admit, it does get a little bigger each year!

Plants Gone Wild spirea
Plants gone wild – goldflame spirea

Lemon Balm, Peppermint and Bee Balm

These herbs, all members of the mint family, are prolific producers and can overrun the garden. Extremely easy to grow, simply plant them in a sunny location and forget about them. They return year after year, often showing up in other flower beds, containers and the lawn. Lemon balm is one of the first plants to appear in my garden each spring and thrives until a hard frost nips it in late fall.

I love these herbs, for their wonderful health benefits, and happily tolerate their wildness. Their flowers attract bees. I keep mint in a contained area, however I give lemon balm and bee balm free reign, pulling up the excess plants.

These herbs do well in containers and that is the best way to keep them from spreading. Also, shear off the flowers before they go to seed. That practice not only helps prevent new plants, it encourages the existing herbs to produce more leaves.

Plants Gone Wild lemon balm
Plants gone wild – lemon balm

Lamb’s Ear

These gray-green plants with the soft fuzzy leaves are fun to include in the garden. They make perfect additions to sensory gardens and their stalks of purple flowers attract bees and butterflies. Native to Turkey, Armenia and Iran, lamb’s ear is considered an ornamental plant that tolerates various soil conditions. It thrives in partial shade to full sun.

I added three small lamb’s ear plants to my garden in 2014 and realized quickly that they aggressively fill in an area and pop up all over the garden and yard. I’ve even found new plants in the alleyway, pushing up through gravel. I’ve kept the plants under control by rigorously pulling up seedlings as they appear. It also helps to cut down the flower stalks, before they set seed.

Perhaps because we had so much rain last summer, most of my lamb’s ears did not return this spring. However, three plants appeared at the edge of their usual space. I know what three plants can do!

Plants Gone Wild lambs ear
Plants gone wild – lamb’s ear

Ornamental Grasses

When I planned out my garden in 2014, I knew I wanted ornamental grasses. I love the way they wave in the breeze and their tassels in the fall are so gorgeous. And leaving the dried grasses up in winter creates interest in an otherwise drab garden.  What I didn’t take into consideration is that those tassels are seeds. And the seeds go everywhere.

Ornamental grasses come in a variety of colors and sizes, with different shaped tassels. I still love having them in my garden. And…no other plant creates as much work for me!  Because my garden area covers more than half of my backyard, there is a great deal of disturbed ground for those grass seeds to sprout up in.

While the clusters are small, ornamental grasses are relatively simple to remove. And remove them I must, or grasses would spread throughout the garden, choking out all other plants. If I miss any, they reveal themselves in the fall, as other plants die back to the ground.

Knowing what I know now, would I still have ornamental grasses in my garden? Yes. I’ve learned to walk the garden frequently and remove baby grasses. Plus, a heavy layer of mulch greatly reduces their numbers as well.

Plants Gone Wild - ornamental grasses
Plants gone wild – ornamental grasses

Have Your Plants Gone Wild?

There are other plants considered aggressive invaders. I’ve only listed those I’ve personally dealt with. Bamboo, for example, should never be planted in a garden. It is the most difficult plant to contain and even more difficult to remove. And pretty little periwinkle, a ground cover, can certainly run amok!

Truthfully, most perennials possess the potential to spread beyond their borders. That’s why I choose to plant them. They return every year and continue to fill in.

That’s okay. I love a little chaos in my garden. A profusion of flowers, herbs and plants and a bit of wildness makes my heart sing. How could it be otherwise, for a woman who continually seeks to “go beyond”?

Tell me about your garden. Do you have a story about plants gone wild?

Plants Gone Wild night garden

Check out these posts in the Backyard Garden Series:

Spring Garden Tips

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden

 


 

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 Pole Dancer

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

I’m excited to expand my writing into more travel related posts, as I have more travel experiences. One of my biggest dreams is to work remotely, from my laptop, anywhere in the world.

However, what is a traveler to do, when the whole world is under a travel ban? She revisits the places she’s been, via photos and memories. And she crafts stories from those previous trips.

Today I introduce the “Tales from…” Series with a funny story, The Pole Dancer, from a trip to Scotland in 2017. I hope you enjoy it. And watch for travel tales here each Friday…until this wanderer can wander again and deliver new content.

The Pole Dancer title meme

Tales from Scotland, The Pole Dancer

Stepping off the tour bus, we disembark into a changed Edinburgh. When our girls’ group began exploring the city that morning, people overflowed the surrounding landscape, covering streets and parks like an international patchwork quilt. Visitors from around the world jostled shoulders as they scrambled for buses or pulled up maps on their phones and set off on foot.

Now, nearby streets empty as weary wanderers move toward cheerful pubs and cafes, intent on refreshment. Even the piper on the corner has vanished, taking the signature sound of Scotland with him.

I glance at my tired traveling companions, my mother, sisters and niece, and shrug.

After spending the day wandering the city, including a tour of Edinburgh Castle, and shopping along the Royal Mile, we thankfully boarded the last hop on/hop off bus for the day. We looked forward to a hot meal and hotter showers and a good night’s sleep. Except…we missed our hop off spot. The bus parked for the night, with us still onboard.

It’s up to us to find a way to our lodging.

The Pole Dancer Hop On Hop Off Bus
The Pole Dancer – Hop On/Hop Off Bus

George to the Rescue

We have options. The bus tours begin and end on Waverley Bridge, near the train station tucked into the heart of Edinburgh. The three span iron bridge we stand on literally connects medieval Old Town with 18th century New Town. Cabs regularly swing through this area, assured of a steady stream of arrivals.

“Are you ladies lost?” 

A guide approaches us, a smile on his round face. An unruly thatch of gray hair caps his head, and in spite of the long day, his good humor remains intact. Laugh lines frame bright blue eyes that disappear when he chuckles. His rumpled white shirt stretches over a rounded belly. GEORGE is etched across his name tag.

George sees damsels in distress. He nobly offers assistance. We like him immediately.

He listens as we share our dilemma. We aren’t lost, we explain, only temporarily displaced. Perhaps George can flag down a cab for us? He concocts a better plan.

“Where are you staying?” he inquires in his soft Scottish brogue.

The Pole Dancer Edinburgh Church
The Pole Dancer – Edinburgh Church

A Private Joke

I supply the name and address of our serviced apartment near Grassmarket, south of Edinburgh Castle.

George’s reaction surprises us. He rocks back on his heels, his smile widening. Laughter bubbles up and George waves other guides over. As he tells our story, they raise eyebrows and chuckle too. The band of guides shares some private joke and we aren’t in on it.

Wiping his eyes, George steers us toward a bus, empty except for the seated driver. “My friend, please take these ladies back to their apartment,” George instructs. “They’ve had a long day in our city.”

The Pole Dancer Girls Trip
The Pole Dancer – enjoying the Royal Mile

An Impromptu Game of Charades

The driver nods. George gives him the address. His mouth quirking into a lopsided smile, the driver looks at us with amusement as we settle gratefully into seats.

“Okay, what’s so funny about where we’re staying?” I ask.

In response, George hops into the bus. With an infectious grin, he prances toward the metal pole nearest us. Placed there to steady standing travelers, George has other intentions.

Humming, the Scotsman grabs the pole and dances, surprisingly agile. He twirls around and throws back his head, amid cheers from guides gathered near the bus door. Hooking one leg around the pole, George looks at us, expectantly.

Our dancer plays a spontaneous game of charades. My family members exchange glances as understanding comes. He’s pole dancing, as a clue!  

We are incredulous. “Are we staying in Edinburgh’s red light district?” 

Applause from the guides confirms the guess. The driver snorts and waves George off his bus. He exits with a wink and an admonition to behave ourselves.

The Pole Dancer View of Castle
The Pole Dancer – Our view of the castle, from our five star lodging

A Street with a View

As the bus pulls away from the curb, we look back at George and wave. Laughing, he performs another little twirl on the sidewalk and bows. 

Walking up to our apartment building, we stop and really look at our surroundings. We arrived late the night before, eyes captivated by our first sight of Edinburgh Castle perched high on its volcanic rock.  And we left eager for adventure that morning. Now, turning slowly in a circle, we realize that our five star lodging is located in the middle of strip clubs, lap dance parlors and adult shows. No wonder George and the other guides laughed. We are amused too.

My sister Debbie recently returned with me to Edinburgh, my favorite city in all the world. We stayed in a different serviced apartment, in New Town. However, every time our hop on/hop off bus passed through Grassmarket, we peered up the hill toward our previous lodging. And we smiled, remembering George, our rescuer, our pole dancer.

The Pole Dancer Edinburgh Castle

Check out these travel finds on Amazon, for your next trip:

 


 

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.

 

 

 

 

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden

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

It’s true that April showers bring May flowers! The plants in the garden flourish during this month, offering colors, scents and beauty. In fact, May is Gifts from the Garden Month, with a different emphasis on each day.

May 3 is Meditate in the Garden Day and I celebrated the occasion with afternoon tea, journaling and a time of meditation in my contemplative corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and re-entered the house refreshed and full of joy.

It’s easy to create a meditation area in your garden. Think of this space as a place to daydream, write, relax, reflect, draw and pray or meditate. From a simple chair in a corner of the garden, to a hammock filled with pillows, to a fun, themed corner, the meditation area soothes the body and feeds the soul.

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden title meme

Elements of a Meditation Area

I first fell in love with small personal garden spaces as a child. In my own backyard I found a large bush to crawl beneath, when I craved alone time. And the wonderful couple across the street, whom all the neighborhood children loved, gave me permission to use their little corner backyard garden spot anytime I wanted. This area, with a single bench and honeysuckle covering the fence, became my own secret garden. I spent hours sitting in that space and as a result, I love honeysuckle.

Use some or all of the following elements, to create a meditation area in your garden. Simplicity is key. You don’t want a high maintenance area that creates more work and stress. This is your personal spot to de-stress, unwind and breathe deeply. Make sure that the environment supports those intentions.

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden chairs
Create a meditation area in your garden – seating

Water

Water features soothe frazzled nerves and relax tense muscles, encourage reflection and mask noise if the water is moving. They encourage butterflies, dragonflies and birds to visit.

Add a koi pond, fountain, tabletop fountain, bird bath or a simple shallow bowl filled with water to the meditation area. If the water is still, change it frequently to discourage mosquitoes from using it as a nursery.

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden water feature
Create a meditation area in your garden – water feature

Natural Elements

Add natural elements such as brick, stones, wood, bamboo, grass, pebbles or sand to your area. These materials complement plants, flowers and trees, providing a restorative space for grounding and centering. They also offer a deep connection to nature.

Add a couple of large rocks for interest. Or create a privacy screen from wood. Brick, sand, cedar mulch or paving stones make an excellent floor that helps to define your space and provides a solid foundation for chairs or benches.

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden natural elements
Create a meditation area in your garden – natural elements

Seclusion

This is perhaps the most important element to keep in mind, when creating a meditation area. Find a place that is separate from the rest of the garden. A simple chair in a corner or alcove works well. A bench at the end of a pathway or a hammock strung between two sturdy trees is ideal also. If you have a structure in the yard or garden, such as a gazebo or a covered back porch, create your own little private nook there.

Partition off your chosen area with fencing, repurposed gates, pig wire covered with flowering vines or lightweight fabric. Make use of existing trees or shrubs to provide privacy. And consider how much sunlight the area gets. Too much sun can be uncomfortable during the summer. Tent the area with a water proof, lightweight fabric or grow vines on an arbor to provide shade.

Create a place that delights the senses, where you can be alone.

Create a Meditation Area for Your Garden hammock
Create a meditation area for your garden – hammock

Beauty

Beauty inspires creativity, uplifts the spirit and brings joy to the heart. And beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. What makes you smile? Include those things in your meditation area.

Plants, flowers, herbs, ornamental grasses, trees and shrubs are excellent choices. Water features fall into this category too as do small boulders, pathways and garden art. Gather items that spark joy, to borrow a concept from Marie Kondo. This is your personal space. Let it be a reflection of who you are.

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden beauty
Create a meditation area in your garden – beauty for my eyes, next to my meditation corner

Personal Touch

Finally, because this is your personal retreat area, add items that showcase your unique personality. Add garden statues for whimsy, flowers in repurposed containers and inspirational signs.

You’ll need a place to sit. Add a chair, or a pair of chairs if you’d like to occasionally share your space, and a small table. The table is perfect for holding a journal, a candle, a glass of cold water or a tray with afternoon tea.

Choose a playful theme or include your favorite colors. Add interesting textures by way of cushions, pillows or snuggly wraps. If you’ll practice yoga in your meditation area, create space for a mat. Add twinkling lights, battery powered or those that plug into an outlet, so you can enjoy your meditation area during warm summer evenings.

Use what you have on hand to personalize your space. Make your own pillows. Repurpose items. This project does not need to be expensive to create. This is all about enjoying peace and solitude, even if only for a few minutes a day.

Create a a Meditation Area in Your Garden bicycle
Create a meditation area in your garden – repurposed bicycle

Bringing It All Together

Here is how I used the elements listed above, in my own meditation area.

I created the contemplative corner when I laid out my original garden in 2014. The space evolved over the years, to its current state.

I am adding a water feature this summer, in the form of a fountain. Greg is running electrical wiring to the corner so the fountain can plug into an outlet. I’ll string lights up as well.

A wood privacy fence forms two walls in my corner. Pig wire, covered in clematis vines, creates the other two walls, leaving an entrance into the area. This spring, Greg replaced the cedar mulch flooring with vintage brick. I love this change. The brick defines the area beautifully and creates a feeling of permanence.

The wood fence and vine covered fencing separates my meditation area from the rest of the garden. And yet, I still have gorgeous views of my backyard paradise through the vines and the entrance.

Beauty is provided via clematis vines, flowering plants, potted plants and the colors and items I’m using to cozy up the space.

And I’ve definitely added my own personal touch to my meditation area. My favorite colors…blues and greens….are represented in the cushions, pillows, throw, table and flower pots. I light candles when I’m enjoying my space, carry out tea and a journal, and include a colorful sign that reminds me to RELAX. And my beloved metal cranes stand guard at the entrance.

Meditation Area
My meditation area

What Will You Include in Your Meditation Area?

What will you include in your special area? I’d love to hear your ideas and see photos of your meditation area, contemplative corner or relaxation space.

May you enjoy many pleasant and restorative moments in your garden or backyard this season!

And check out these posts, in the Backyard Garden Series, for more ideas!

10 Shade Garden Plants

Easy Container Gardening

Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden gate

Gardening Finds 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.

Where’d You Go Bernadette Movie Review

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

I missed Where’d You Go Bernadette when it played at the theater. However, the preview I saw before another film stayed with me. I appreciate Cate Blanchett as an actress. And the story line intrigued me.

Last weekend I watched this enchanting film via Amazon Prime. Check out my review!

Where'd You Go Bernadette title meme

Where’d You Go Bernadette Cast

This comedy drama stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Emma Nelson, Kristen Wiig and Laurence Fishburne. Richard Linklater directed Where’d You Go Bernadette and co-wrote the screenplay, based on the novel written by Maria Semple. The movie carries a PG-13 rating, for occasional strong language, and has a run time of 1 hour and 49 minutes.

 

Where'd You Go Bernadette family
Where’d You Go Bernadette – the family

Defining Motherhood

Bernadette (Blanchett) is an involved, loving mother completely devoted to her daughter Bee (Nelson). After experiencing difficulty getting pregnant and then a premature birth, Bernadette abandons a promising career in architecture to focus on raising her daughter with husband Elgie (Crudup).

As Bee considers leaving her little family to attend prep school out east, Bernadette realizes how much she’s shunned society and how small her world has become. She’s disconnected from Elgie, who spends long hours working as a developer for Microsoft. And she’s at odds with her neighbor Audrey (Wiig) who views Bernadette as an eccentric.

Where'd You Go Bernadette Elgie
Where’d You Go Bernadette – Elgie (Billy Crudup)

Trip to Antarctica

Before Bee leaves for prep school, she convinces her parents to take her on a trip to Antarctica. Although she wants to please her daughter, Bernadette hates the idea of being around other people, especially on board a cruise ship. She turns over all travel arrangements to her virtual assistant, whom she frequently rants to, and ultimately considers staying home. The stress over the upcoming trip keeps her awake at night and on edge.

Meeting with her old college professor, Paul Jellenik (Fishburne), Bernadette pours out her feelings. Paul listens patiently and then suggests that perhaps Bernadette needs to get back to work, pursuing her passion by creating buildings. Because, it is obvious to Paul that Bernadette’s life has stalled out. The big rundown schoolhouse that Bernadette and Elgie bought, to transform into their dream home, sits partially finished. That house visually represents her life and career. They both held great promise and yet Bernadette placed them on hold.

Where'd You Go Bernadette
Cate Blanchett in Where’d You Go Bernadette

Awakened

Concerned about his wife’s erratic behavior, Elgie secretly meets with a therapist and plans an intervention for Bernadette. She slips away, literally running away from home. On a whim, she heads to Antarctica alone. Discovering her whereabouts, Elgie and Bee follow.

In the Antarctic, helping a scientist take water samples, Bernadette learns that the old research station is scheduled for demolition. Her creativity stirring, Bernadette offers to design the new structure. For the first time in a very long time, Bernadette feels excited about a creative idea. Gaining acceptance as the architect isn’t guaranteed and there is her family to consider, however, Bernadette pursues her desire.

As they track her down, Elgie realizes he’s less than supportive of Bernadette. And Bee reconsiders leaving for prep school. All three discover, in their own ways, that sometimes life needs to fall apart, before a better life can come together.

Where'd You Go Bernadette hug
Group hug in Where’d You Go Bernadette

My Thoughts on Where’d You Go Bernadette

This film falls under the “quirky” category for me…and I love quirky! It is humorous. I enjoy seeing actors in different types of roles and Cate nails this performance. And yet, Where’d You Go Bernadette is so much more than a comedy.

The family dynamics seem so exemplary of many today. Distance exists between the couple. And one parent overly focuses on the child. Bernadette takes parenting to extremes, believing she must sacrifice everything else, as a show of gratitude for having a child at all.

In doing so, she completely loses the most important parts of herself. Bee’s impending departure for prep school and the discomfort of the trip to Antarctica become mirrors that show Bernadette just how much she’s disconnected, not from society and her spouse, but from herself.

And that’s the inspiring message in this film. Sacrificing yourself for your children is not as important as showing those kids how to truly live, fully and with passion. We all want our kids to live their best lives. We must model what that looks like.

Where’d you go Bernadette? Deeply inward to find yourself again. It’s a journey so worth taking.

Where'd You Go Bernadette Antarctica

Check out these other reviews of Cate Blanchett films:

Cinderella

Thor: Ragnorok

Blue Jasmine

You can find the movie and the novel by clicking on photos below:

 

Purchase or rent.

 

 

Novel

 

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.

Smartr Skin

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

Thank you to Smartr Skin for sending me product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

 

My skin care routine is very simple. I eat a healthy diet and drink lots of water and herbal teas, knowing skin care begins from within. I clean my face twice a day with a Norwex microfiber cloth and warm water. And for years I’ve used a face serum that I make myself, from coconut oil, essential oils, vitamin E and raw organic honey.

So when Smartr Skin contacted me, about trying two of their skin care products, I did my research before saying yes. I immediately appreciated that their products are vegan, cruelty free and paraban and phthalate free as well. Plus, the inclusion of natural ingredients impressed me.

I received Smartr Skin Eye Treament and the Moisturizer. After trying them for several weeks, these are my results and my honest opinion.

Smartr Skin title meme

A Better Idea for Skin Care

Smartr Skin is a physician created line of skin care products. The company embraces a whole-person view of health. They believe that feeling healthy and confident is a result of caring for the whole self…body, mind and spirit.

They also believe that smarter, higher quality ingredients lead to better results. Therefore, they’ve created custom formulations from clean ingredients that nourish the skin, from the inside out.

Smartr Skin cruelty free products
Smartr Skin cruelty free products. Graphic from company website.

Smartr Skin Eye Treatment

This lightweight, deionized water based lotion absorbs easily and quickly into the delicate skin in the eye area. A small drop goes a long way, without leaving behind a greasy residue.

The lotion is unscented and rich with superior anti-aging ingredients such as aloe vera gel, hydrolyzed rice bran protein, and extracts of grape, cucumber, pineapple, passion flower and lemon.

Use Smartr Skin Eye Treatment morning and evening to minimize the appearance of dark circles, puffy bags and wrinkles beneath the eyes. This silky formula firms and lifts, while helping fresh new skin cells to form.

Smartr Skin Begins with Eye Treatment
Smartr Skin begins with Eye Treatment

My Results Using Smartr Skin Eye Treatment

As a teen I first began paying special attention to the delicate under eye area. Over the years, I’ve used a variety of lotions and serums. This area around the eyes is the first to show signs of aging. My desire is to age gracefully. However, taking excellent care of my skin is important to me as well.

I’m finding, I can do both!

I love the Smartr Skin Eye Treatment. The lotion smooths easily onto the under eye area and the lids. A small amount covers the lids and under eye area and I smooth the remainder over my forehead.

This luscious treatment firms and smooths the skin. I can see and feel the difference . My skin feels soft and yet toned, and drinks this lotion up.

Smartr Skin Eye Treatment
Smoothing on a drop of Smartr Skin Eye Treatment. No makeup yet.

Smartr Skin Moisturizer

This gentle, rich formula hydrates the skin, locking in moisture for a healthy, glowing complexion without clogging pores. Great for all skin types, the moisturizer repairs sunspots, eases dry patches and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines.

The superior ingredients in Smartr Skin Moisturizer include sweet almond oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, aloe vera gel, and extracts of avocado, carrot root, cucumber, ginseng root and linden tree leaf.

Use the moisturizer morning and evening on the entire face, neck and chest to improve skin’s ability to retain moisture, and to reduce inflammation and protect from free radicals.

Smartr Skin Moisturizer
Hydrate with Smartr Skin Moisturizer.

My Results Using Smartr Skin Moisturizer

I appreciate the moisturizer as well as the eye treatment. The lotion is so creamy and lightweight, absorbing quickly into the skin.

My routine the last few weeks is to clean and gently dry my skin and then apply the eye treatment around my eyes and upward onto my forehead. As it absorbs I brush my teeth and get ready for bed or for the day, depending on whether it is evening or morning. I then smooth on a small amount of moisturizer, paying attention to my cheeks and the skin around my mouth. Any remaining lotion goes on my neck and upper chest.

I still use my homemade serum on my lips. To give the Smartr Skin products a fair try, I have not used my serum otherwise. Honestly, I love how my skin looks and feels, using these amazing products. My complexion seems clearer and brighter and my skin is more toned and resilient. And I’m grateful for the natural ingredients and the cruelty free practices.

Not only do I intend to keep using these two products, I want to try more of the Smartr Skin line, including the Vitamin C Serum and the Jade Roller for the Face.

The skin is the body’s largest organ…and often the most neglected. If healthy skin is important to you, like it is to me, check out the Smartr Skin products, for men and for women, on their website HERE.

Smartr Skin Healthier Skin
Smartr Skin means healthier skin. Both products used and a small amount of BOOM makeup applied.

Pick up the Trio Bundle

This bundle includes Vitamin C Serum, Moisturizer and Eye Treatment, for a special sale price!

And Smartr Skin products are available on Amazon as well. Check out the Jade Roller 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.

Blogger Recognition Award

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

Recently both of my blogs, Cindy Goes Beyond and Journey With Healthy Me, received the Blogger Recognition Award. For fun…at least it seemed like a good idea at the time…I’m posting simultaneously in both blogs!

You can check out the award for Journey HERE.

The Blogger Recognition Award is presented to bloggers by their peers to recognize their efforts to add value to the blogging community.

Blogger Recognition Award title meme

Thank you to Esme with Esme Salon

Beyond received the Blogger Recognition Award from Esme, with Esme Salon. Esme is an amazing blogger, friend and encourager. She loves to cook and share her recipes. And she offers wisdom to bloggers through her blog and her Facebook page, Sharing, Inspiring, Promoting Bloggers.

Thank you Esme, for passing this award on to Beyond and for all the knowledge and inspiration that you so freely and willingly share with others, including me. I appreciate you!

The Rules for the Blogger Recognition Award

Yes, you know there are rules! Here they are:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to her/his blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story about how your blog started.
  4. Offer two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select up to 15 bloggers to pass the award on to.
  6. Link to each of the nominated blogs.

Blogger Recognition Award cover photo

How Cindy Goes Beyond Began

Beyond began in 2014 as a way to document a Year of Firsts. I adopted the idea created by Lu Ann Cahn, who rebooted her life by trying something new every day for a year. My intention to write daily failed initially. When I realized I needed a purpose to connect my writing to, Lu Ann’s book, I Dare Me, came into my awareness and provided that purpose. The blog launched.

That first year of blogging changed my life. I loved the return to writing, a passion I’d had since childhood. Doors opened, opportunities arrived, the blog flourished.

As my life shifted and grew, Cindy Goes Beyond evolved as well. Initially called Going Beyond, I relaunched the blog in 2017 on WordPress’s paid site, under its current name, greatly extending the reach and the possibilities. Check out this post for more about how my blog has shifted and expanded over the last six years.

The purpose of Beyond now is to encourage others to live life beyond the edges of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Each year a different theme guides me, incorporating a word for the year and a symbol. I offer tips on gardening, travel and life, and reviews on films, books and products.

Blogger Recognition Award life

Advice to New Bloggers

Blogging is a learning journey. My first piece of advice is to not journey alone. Connect with other bloggers. Find groups to join on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Bloggers encourage each other and offer amazing support. Start by joining Esme’s group on Facebook.

And set your blog up, from the beginning, to earn money. Blogging isn’t about the money. It’s about helping others and fulfilling your own purpose in the world. However, there are many ways to earn income from your blog. Begin it the right way, so that when you are ready to monetize, you can.

I highly recommend Heather and Pete Reese’s courses. The 5 Day Crash Course is free. And for all the right ways to begin blogging and monetize later, take their Blogging Blastoff 2.0 paid course. I’m an affiliate for both, and may make a commission if you purchase Blogging Blastoff, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love, and I’m still learning from these courses. They are excellent.

My second bit of advice is to set up a blogging schedule and follow it. I plan out blog posts and social media shares 30 days in advance and adhere to that schedule. This simple practice saves me time and keeps me focused.

My Nominations for the Blogger Recognition Award

Because I’m posting about the award on both blogs, I’m dividing my list of nominees. Check out these five bloggers and their blogs, nominated by Cindy Goes Beyond:

Holly, with Holly’s Bird Nest, is a life coach, mentor and author, offering insight and wisdom on a variety of topics.

Adrienne, with Not Even Hot Just a Mess, encourages others on her health and lifestyle blog, so that no one feels like they are journeying alone.

Stephanie, with A Red Haired Girl, is a wife, mom and former teacher sharing about life and all its ups and downs.

Maya, with Stirring My Spicy Soul, writes a lifestyle and food blog and believes that home cooked meals don’t have to be boring.

Heather, with Life at My Own Pace, is an attorney, online health and fitness coach and runner who loves traveling and self discovery.

Blogger Recognition Award

The Book that Launched My Blogging Career. Click on photo to order.

 

 

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.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and 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.

In spite of unique and challenging life circumstances, the spring season is well underway. And with the month of April comes the holiday that celebrates rebirth and newness of life. I took time today to shift my spring vignettes. Following that old adage, something old and something new, I freshened my spaces for Easter.

Check out how the following areas transitioned, decorating for Easter with vintage pieces and Decocrated.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated title meme

The Dining Room Table

I have a small round dining table that is never used for meals. Instead, the cheerful little table holds various vignettes throughout the year. I walk by that table multiples times a day and the decor there brightens the room and my heart.

For Easter, I created a simple table setting. On a neutral woven runner, Easter themed plates anchored either end. My favorite wire cloches cover yellow ceramic baskets filled with artificial speckled eggs.

In the middle of the table rests my vintage wooden sieve. It makes a great container to create vignettes within. The black metal lantern from Decocrated is the focal piece. While at the grocery store today, stocking up on what I could, I saw a beautiful display of potted hydgrangeas. I love how even in the midst of grocery scarcity and concern about a pandemic, beauty can pierce the heart. Two of those small potted plants went into my basket. The light blue hydrangea rests within the lantern.

Vintage Easter

I switched out the Decocrated print in the 5X7 frame to another included in the spring box. It proclaims, “Love every little thing you do”. Spring flowers surround the words, creating a charming print.

The vintage pieces I added are from my mother-in-law’s Easter collection. the little chick egg holder, unknown age but at least 40 years old, holds a pale blue speckled egg. And Mom Moore made the cute ceramic bunny in 1961, making him almost 60 years old.

This Easter vignette makes me smile and reminds me of my sweet mother-in-law, who passed away 21 years ago.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated table
Decorating for Easter with vintage pieces and Decocrated – dining room table

Shelf Top

Also in the dining room is the bookcase that holds decor rather than books. The top shelf changes seasonally and the whole bookcase gets a makeover at Christmas time.

The wood and wire box, stood on its side, remains, along with the trio of ceramic trees from the Decocrated winter box. Tucked into the box is a spring candle ring layered behind a pink ceramic pot filled with more speckled eggs.

On the other end of the shelf, the Decocrated spring print, by artist Kelly Merkur, shares space with a vintage brass basket holding those adorable speckled eggs and one of the gold canisters from the Decocrated spring tabletop set. Beneath these vignettes is the pillow cover from the winter box, flipped to the rose colored side.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated shelf top
Decorating for Easter with vintage pieces and Decocrated – shelf top

Entry Table

And finally, the little chippy entry table transitioned into Easter as well.

Top Shelf

The gold tabletop set remains, however everything else changed. Covering the table is a hooked runner, created by my cousin Mindy, who journeyed on to heaven in 2015. Atop the runner is the tray from the Decocrated winter box. It holds the gold set with artificial flowers and a small white candle. And the second hydrangea that I purchased, in a delicate peachy pink color, takes up the other corner of the tray. Nestled against the base of the plant is a vintage ceramic bunny, sporting a spring wreath around its neck.

I love the cozy warmth of this vignette.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated tabletop
Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated – tabletop

Lower Shelf

On the table shelf below, the sign from the winter box remains, now keeping company with two vintage pieces, a bunny shaped bell and bunny candle holder. And the gorgeous plate that completes the vignette only comes out of safekeeping for a brief time in the spring. On the back of the plate important information tells a sweet love story. Walter Davidson, Greg’s grandfather, gave the plate to his future bride, Ada, shortly before their wedding in 1905. In fact, it was the first gift he ever gave her.

How that plate survived over the years, and through many, many moves, is beyond me. I am grateful to have it and very careful with it.

Easter Vignettes lower shelf
Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated – lower shelf

The Decocrated Spring Box

It’s not too late to create spring or Easter vignettes, using your own decor pieces and Decocrated. The boxes arrive four times a year, with the change of seasons. Each box is filled with six to eight wonderfully crafted pieces that mix well with any decorating style. (Read more about this subscription box company in this post.)

And best of all, the Decorated boxes come right to your front door. You too can create vignettes, that tell your unique stories.

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

During this time of uncertainty and sheltering in place at home, I love creating these visual reminders that spring brings the hope of renewal and the promise of new life. That’s the story I want told in my house.

Angel the Cat
Angel looks at me like, “Really, Mom? Decorating again?”

 

 

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