The World’s Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic

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Have you heard of Four Sigmatic? I’ve seen this Finland based company’s products before, most recently at The Veggie Table in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

I’ve tried four of their products now, and I love what Four Sigmatic offers so much, that I became an affiliate with them. This health conscious company makes it easy to add the most nutritious foods on the planet into your diet.

How you ask?

Read on. The world’s most nutrient rich foods in Four Sigmatic are available to you.

The World's Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic

About the Company

The founders of Four Sigmatic grew up in Finland, foraging in their backyards and enjoying the benefits of all kinds of mushrooms. They recognized that perhaps the rest of the world didn’t use mushrooms as much as they did and wanted to change that.

From their website:

“Four Sigmatic foods are the 100 most nutrient dense, most studied foods on the planet. And now they’re easy to add to your daily routines. We’re making these foods as easy as possible to eat and use and talk about. Because the world is asking more of you. Of everyone. We’d all feel a lot better doing that work if we got off the hamster wheel of coffee jitters and hangovers and sugar highs.”

Tero birthed the company. He grew up on a family farm in Finland that’s been home to 14 generations…and counting. He deeply respects nature and founded Four Sigmatic with others who do as well. Four Sigmatic products are in more than 65 countries now, including the US. They only use the most studied ingredients from the most trusted sources.

Four Sigmatic includes familiar foods in their products such as green tea, cacao, hemp and coconut. And they included some less familiar, like Reishi, Cordyceps and Ashwagandha.

Four Sigmatic Logo

The Products I’ve Tried

These are the four products I’ve tried so far. And let me just insert this here, because I know you might wonder. The Four Sigmatic products contain medicinal mushrooms, the healthiest kind not the hallucination inducing kind. So do the products tastes like mushrooms?

Not at all. There’s no mushroom taste, just the added benefits that they deliver.

Adaptogen Beauty Shots with Tremella

The first product I tried from Four Sigmatic, these ready to drink shots are amazing. Pomegranate and blueberry juices combine with Tremella mushrooms, biotin and vitamin C to give skin a healthy glow, from the inside out.

Tremella helps to retain moisture, revitalizing skin. Pomegranate, blueberry and vitamin C are antioxidants that fight aging. The shots are vegan, organic, gluten free and very low sugar, with 1 gram. The juices provide a delicious tart flavor that I love.

The shots don’t need refrigeration. Simply twist off the top and drink…at home or on the go. Four Sigmatic also offers Focus shots and Immune Support shots.

The World's Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic shots
The World’s Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic – Adaptogen Beauty Shots

Mushroom Cacao with Reishi

I love a cup of hot chocolate, however since becoming plant based, it is difficult to find a dairy free, low sugar one that I like.

This blend from Four Sigmatic is perfect! The decadent drink contains organic cacao, organic coconut sugar (2 grams), organic Reishi mushroom powder, organic stevia and hints of cinnamon and cardamom. It’s refined sugar free, vegan and gluten free.

The Reishi mushroom, called the queen of mushrooms, reduces stress and prepares the body for a restful night’s sleep. That makes this hot chocolate an excellent nighttime drink, especially after a busy day.

Simply add the contents of a packet to a cup of hot water or warmed almond milk. Mmmm. I heat a mugful of almond milk in a small saucepan on the stove, just to the boiling point, whisk in the cacao mushroom mix and serve. It’s such a delicious, warming drink and I sleep well after finishing my cup.

The World's Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic hot cacao chill
Get a great night’s sleep with Four Sigmatic Hot Cacao with Reishi

Mushroom Cacao with Cordyceps

This hot chocolate blend makes a great substitute for coffee in the mornings. (And just so you know, coffee lovers, Four Sigmatic sells amazing coffee.) Rich with organic cacao, organic coconut sugar (2 grams), organic cordyceps mushrooms and organic ginger you’ll feel revitalized and ready to go. Like its evening counterpart, Hot Cacao with Cordyceps is vegan and refined sugar and gluten free.

Cordyceps mushrooms provide endurance and help performance, especially during exercise. It also reduces fatigue and boosts strength. Mix the content of one packet in 1/2 cup of hot water or plant based milk, stir well and go!

I heat water in my electric kettle and pour over the blend in a mug. It tastes like dark chocolate to me and gets me going strongly into my day without the jitters.

The World's Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic hot cacao with cordyceps
The World’s Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic – mushroom cacao with cordyceps

Chai Latte with Reishi and Turkey Tail

This luscious blend makes a wonderful nighttime drink as well. Delicately sweet, the chai latte contains organic coconut milk powder, organic coconut sugar (1 gram), organic Reishi and Turkey Tail mushroom powders, organic stevia and a wonderfully spicy blend of organic cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger and black pepper.

And of course it’s vegan and caffeine free so there’s nothing to interfere with a good night’s sleep.

Reishi helps the body relax and Turkey Tail contains powerful antioxidants that support the immune system. Plus Turkey Tail improves the balance of gut bacteria, which positively impacts immunity.

Mix the contents of one packet in a mug of hot water or plant based milk and enjoy. I’ve tried this with both water and almond milk and I like it both ways. For the first time, I’m considering the purchase of a frother to use with my chai latte blend.

The World's Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic chai latte
The World’s Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic – spicy and sweet chai latte

Get Your Four Sigmatic Products

I love this company’s focus on healthy foods…and not just healthy foods but the best of the best! And I love that I’ve found a hot chocolate that tastes so delicious without dairy, refined sugar and additives.

Ready to try something from this wonderful company? They carry an assortment of coffees, hot cacaos, shots, elixirs and plant based protein powders. This is a company I already trust. I know you’ll love them and trust their high quality products too.

Use my LINK to check out their website and their products. Then use my discount code CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE to save 10% off of your order.

Questions? Ask me. And if you enjoy Four Sigmatic products too, let me know what your favorite is!

The World's Most Nutrient Rich Foods in Four Sigmatic products


Cindy Goes Beyond has an affiliate partnership with Four Sigmatic. I may make a commission on products purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you!



Christmas Traditions from Around the World

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

We are fully in the Christmas season, now that Thanksgiving is past! And I’m glad. This is my favorite time of year. My house is fully decorated for Christmas. There’s a cocoa bar set up in my kitchen. And my little living Norfolk pine serves as my Christmas tree.

In the US, we have many fun holiday traditions, from decorating Christmas trees to ugly sweater contests to setting out cookies for Santa.

Have you ever wondered how other countries celebrate Christmas? My ever curious mind wanted to know. Check out these Christmas traditions from around the world! You might find a fun new custom to add to your festivities.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World

Christmas Traditions from Around the World

Many countries celebrate Christmas differently than we do in the US. People around the world find joy in this holiday season, eating favorite foods, honoring timeless traditions, giving gifts to loved ones.

Although some Christmas traditions are universal, like decorating trees or singing carols, some are quite unique. Take a look at these traditions that differ from what we do in the US.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World US
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – in the US kids like to leave Santa a snack


In jolly England, Father Christmas leaves presents in stockings or pillowcases hung on kids’ beds. And children leave a snack for Father Christmas, just as children do in the US. However, while we leave cookies and hot cocoa or milk, children in England leave mince pies and brandy.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World England
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – in England kids leave a mince pie and brandy


The Irish leave a red candle lit overnight in a front window on Christmas Eve. The candle is symbolic of welcoming Mary and Joseph with warmth and shelter as they search for lodging. Traditional Christmas fare includes roast goose, potatoes, veggies and cranberries.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Ireland
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – Irish candle in the window


One of the most astounding things about Scotland is that Christmas was banned in the country for 400 years! As a result of the reformation in 1560, the kirk (church) frowned on anything related to Roman Catholicism. In 1640 Scottish parliament passed a law making yuletide celebrations illegal. It wasn’t until 1958 that December 25 became a public holiday in Scotland again.

For this reason, New Year’s Eve in Scotland is a very big celebration. It’s called Hogmanay. I’ll share more about this festive time in a future post. One Scottish Christmas tradition is baking unleavened yule bread for each person in the family. The one who finds a trinket in his or her bread is blessed with good luck for the new year.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Scotland
They’ve only been legally celebrating Christmas again since 1958, however the Scots decorate their cities beautifully now. The Dome in Edinburgh.


Did you know that nativity scenes originated in Italy? The holiday season begins on December 8 in Italy and runs through January 6. Everywhere, in churches, homes and outdoors, are nativity scenes called presepes that include Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. And rather than Father Christmas, Italians have Babbo Natale, a kind old woman who leaves gifts for children on January 6.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Italy
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – Italian presepe with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus


In Germany, December 6 is Saint Nicholas Day. Children receive small gifts on that day and they recite poems they wrote for Saint Nicholas.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Germany
December 6 is Saint Nicholas Day in Germany.


The Yule Goat became a Swedish Christmas symbol centuries ago. However, in 1966, someone came up with the idea of making a huge straw goat, now called the Gavle Goat. The festive goat stands 42 feet tall and weighs more than three tons.

Construction of the straw goat begins on the first Sunday of Advent and it remains standing until New Year’s Day.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Sweden
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – Swedish Yule Goat


San Fernando is the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. Every year they hold the Ligligan Parul, Giant Lantern Festival. The brilliant lanterns, called parols, represent the Star of Bethlehem. Each parol contains thousands of spinning lights.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Philippines
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – Giant Lantern Festival in the Philippines


In Iceland they celebrate the 13 days of Christmas. Every night before Christmas, children place shoes or boots in the window and then go to sleep. The kids hope to receive a visit from the 13 Yule Lads, who leave candy for good children and rotten potatoes for naughty ones.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Iceland
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – boots wait for treats in Iceland

New Zealand

Christmas in New Zealand falls during their summer. Christmas festivities include gathering around the barbie for cookouts. New Zealand boasts a spectacular Christmas tree called the Pohutukawa that blooms with crimson flowers in December.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World New Zealand
The Pohutukawa tree blooms during December in New Zealand.


Homes in Denmark contain gnome like characters called nisser, who provide protection. They sport long white beards and wear red stocking caps. Make your own adorable nisser by searching for them on Pinterest.

On Christmas Eve, Danish families move the Christmas tree into the middle of the room where they dance around it while singing carols.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Denmark
The nisser are a playful part of Christmas traditions in Denmark.


The Christmas season, called julebord, begins on December 3 in Norway. Families celebrate Little Christmas December 23. On that day they decorate the tree, make gingerbread houses and eat a hot rice pudding called risengrynsgrot.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Norway
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – Norway celebrates Little Christmas on December 23


In the Ukraine, people celebrate Christmas Day on January 7 by dressing in traditional clothes and walking through town, singing carols. Kutya, a dish made with cooked wheat, honey, ground poppy seeds and nuts, is popular on Christmas Eve. If someone throws a spoonful of kutya at the ceiling and it sticks, the harvest in the new year promises to be bountiful.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Ukraine
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – people in Ukraine singing carols through town


Families in Nigeria throw parties that last all night long, on Christmas Eve. In the morning they go to church. The church choir travels through the town, singing carols to people in their homes. Family members exchange gifts and children enjoy setting off fireworks on Christmas Day.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Nigeria
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – Nigerian children shoot off fireworks on Christmas Day


In Switzerland, families make their own advent calendars together. Each day’s bag or box contains a small gift or treat. The biggest gift is given on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Switzerland
Swiss families make their own advent calendars together.


In Mexico, bright red poinsettia plants appear in holiday arrangements throughout the country. In churches, members put on Pastorelas, Shepherd’s Plays, to tell the Christmas Story. They also march in parades in early December, re-enacting the journey of Mary and Joseph.

Christmas Traditions from Around the World Mexico
Christmas Traditions from Around the World – in Mexico the poinsettia appears in arrangements throughout the country

What Are Your Christmas Traditions?

In my home, I enjoy several personal traditions. I purchase a heart ornament for my tree each year, buy a new Christmas mug for my collection and cluster snowmen in groups and villages.

My younger daughter and I, and any other family members who want to join in, watch Dicken’s A Christmas Carol every Christmas Eve. We prefer the George C Scott version. I’m excited to introduce my new granddaughter to the tradition this year.

And I’d love to incorporate Christmas traditions from around the world in my festivities too. I seriously want a nisser! And next year, or whenever travel restrictions ease, I’ll visit the Christmas market in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Do you have favorite Christmas traditions in your home? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Edinburgh Christmas Market
Edinburgh Christmas Market

Christmas Finds from Amazon:



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63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday

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Last year, at the suggestion of my granddaughter Aubrey, I completed 62 Outrageous Things for My 62nd Birthday. I wrote out 62 activities on slips of paper and every day, I randomly drew one out of the jar and did what was written. I enjoyed those activities so much that I decided to celebrate my 63rd birthday on January 9 with 63 curious things to do.

For 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, I’ve made a few modifications. I still randomly draw out an activity every day. If I can complete the activity on that day, wonderful. However, if I don’t have time, or the activity requires a lot of effort, I’m okay with working toward its completion as I can. My goal is to have all activities completed by January 9.

And last year I posted a birthday activities update once a week. This time, I’m shooting for twice a month updates. I schedule out my posts in advance for each month plus I’m working with more and more brands that require social media or blog posts. To get it all done I’m limiting the number of birthday updates.

On November 7 I drew my first activity. Here are highlights of the curious activities I’ve done!

63 Curious Things for My 63rd Birthday

63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday

I’m keeping a notebook this year, with a numbered list of the 63 activities and then a list showing which activities were drawn on which days. And I’m keeping track of the completion of each activity.

Although I’m not sharing details about every activity this year, I’ll list each one. I’m posting a good sampling of what I’m doing.

So here we go!

11/7/2020 Write out my name and list a favorite characteristic for each letter (completed)

11/8/2020 Write a poem and hide in a library book (completed)

I’m no poet, however I enjoyed creating a simple poem and then tucking into a library book at my local public library.

Travel is the theme and I felt inspired to write about the regions my ancestors came from, according to my Ancestry DNA test results.

Here is the poem, titled Traveler:

My Irish feet dance down paths unknown

Scottish bagpipes wail and call me home

Cups of hot tea warms my soul

My gypsy heart longs to roam.


Northern lights draw my gaze

African savannas whisper “come explore me”

Germany’s forests shelter surprises

The world is calling, there’s much to see.


Of all the journeys I’ve undertaken

In travels far and wide

The one that opened doors to all others

Is the discovery of who I am, inside.

The poem found a home inside a travel book, which seemed appropriate!

63 Curious Things for My 63rd Birthday poem
63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday – write a poem and hide it within a library book

11/09/2020 Draw with my left hand (completed)

I discovered during this curious activity that I can sketch with my left hand better than I can write with it. Sitting on my bed, I spied my cat Angel taking a nap. Her body contorted, as only cats can do, she nevertheless snoozed soundly.

Below is an actual photo of Angel…and the quick sketch that I did in my notebook with my non dominate hand.

Curious Things for My 63rd Birthday Angel the cat models
Angel the cat models for me, unknowingly!
63 Curious Things for My 63r Birthday left handed sketch
63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday – draw with left hand

11/10/2020 List 63 curious things I’m grateful for (completed)

11/11/2020 Take an online photography class (in process)

11/12/2020 Create a hot cocoa bar (completed)

This activity completed today! I enjoyed using pieces from the Decocrated Christmas box (post coming soon…use CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE1O to save $10 on a seasonal box or CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE to save $30 on a yearly subscription) and healthy hot chocolate mixes from Four Sigmatic. (Post coming soon…but you can order from this amazing company using this link. Use my code CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE at checkout to save 10%)

I recently purchased a new cabinet to hold all my tea supplies and loose leaf herbs. This cabinet became the base for the cocoa…and hot tea…bar. I love the way it turned out!

63 Curious Things for My 63rd Birthday cocoa bar
63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday – create a hot cocoa bar

11/13/2020 Make a vegan Indian recipe (I’ll make Red Lentil Dahl – not completed yet)

11/14/2020 Send out newsletters to email lists for Beyond and Journey (in process)

11/15/2020 Create a black and white Christmas Vignette (completed)

Another fun activity, I created this vignette after enjoying my black and white fall one. I used an assortment of items, from Decocrated pieces to items I already had to Hobby Lobby finds.

This display makes me smile! I love all the buffalo plaid. Read more about how it came together HERE.

63 Curious Things for My 63rd Birthday black and white
63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday – create a black and white Christmas vignette

11/16/2020 Research and plan a night themed garden (in process)

11/17/2020 Create my own full moon ritual (completed)

11/18/2020 Do a unique Christmas activity (coming up December 4 – Joplin’s Christmas parade this year remains stationary while we drive by in our cars!)

11/19/2020 Try a food I consider disgusting (completed)

There are very few foods I consider disgusting, although as a plant based person, there are many I don’t eat now. The perfect opportunity presented itself, however. During lunch at an Asian restaurant, I tried seaweed salad.

I use powdered seaweed such as Atlantic sea dulse and spirulina in smoothies, but I’ve never eaten seaweed. I expected it to have a slimy texture and a fishy taste. It did not. I enjoyed the salad. Full disclosure, however. I did belch a couple of times later and there was the fishy taste! Ewww.

63 Curious Things for My 63rd Birthday seaweed salad
63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday – try a food I consider disgusting

11/20/2020 Color a page in a coloring book using only one color (in process)

11/21/2020 Read a classic I’ve missed (in process)

I love the various movie adaptation of Emma. I realized recently that I never read the book by Jane Austen. I’m remedying that. I purchased a copy of the book and I’m loving it. As I read I can imagine the characters plus I love the extra details in the book. Check out my review of the latest film version of Emma.

63 Curious Things for My 63rd Birthday classic
63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday – read a classic I’ve missed

11/22/2020 Buy a new to me plant (completed)

I’m a plant fiend, it’s true. They grow in my garden, thrive in containers on the porch and patio and brighten my indoor space. When I went looking for a new to me plant, I immediately settled on a bamboo plant. I’ve actually always wanted one, and now it graces my writing table in my studio.

63 Curious Things for My 63rd Birthday new plant
63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday – buy a new to me plant

11/23/2020 Buy moon jewelry (on order)

My symbol for 2021 is the moon. I found the perfect necklace on Amazon. This Edary boho layered necklace features a crescent moon AND a globe of the world. I’m excited to receive it. You can order one too by clicking photo below.

11/24/2020 Create a new holiday dish for Christmas (I’ve picked out a vegan lasagna to try for Christmas!)

There are the first curious activities as I march toward my 63rd birthday. As usual, I’m having fun, learning new things and stepping beyond my comfort zone. I honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate who I am.

Marching toward my 63rd birthday
Marching toward my 63rd birthday


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Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy

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

This post combines two of my favorite things…movies and travel. Long before I visited Italy, my dreams of exploring that beautiful country were fueled by movies that I enjoyed. While watching the stories unfold, my eyes also scanned the background shots. I fell in love with Rome, Venice and Tuscany through those films.

When my grandson, daughter and I visited Italy in 2017, what fun to recognize places from the movies. It felt surreal, in fact, to stand in those locations that seemed new and familiar at the same time.

Check out these 12 movies that inspire you to visit Italy. And dream a little, of travel.

Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy title meme

Roman Holiday  1953

This classic movie, filmed in black and white, stars Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn and Eddie Albert.

A bored princess, on a tour of European cities, sneaks out of her Italian room one night, in search of adventure. An American reporter stationed in Rome finds her asleep on a park bench and takes her back to his apartment. His intention is to get an exclusive story about the princess. However, romance soon blossoms between them.

Fun fact: Paramount wanted to shoot the movie in Hollywood, however the director insisted on filming in Rome. Paramount finally agreed, but reduced the budget which meant filming in black and white and using an unknown actress in the title role. Audrey Hepburn played the princess and won an Oscar.

Rent Roman Holiday

Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy roman holiday
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Roman Holiday

Enchanted April  1991

This lavish and beautiful film stars Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, Polly Walker, Josie Lawrence and Alfred Molina.

Post World War I, four British women, unhappy with their lives, rent a villa in Portofino, Italy for a month. They embrace a leisurely lifestyle while there, that allows each of them to reconnect with herself, explore their different personalities and backgrounds and reexamine their current relationships.

Fun fact: The castle scenes were filmed at Castello Brown in Portofino, Italy, the same castle that Elizabeth von Arnim stayed in during the 1920s. While there she penned the novel by the same title, on which this movie is based.

Rent Enchanted April

Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy enchanged april
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Enchanted April

Much Ado About Nothing  1993

This Shakespearean inspired film stars Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsale, Denzel Washington, Robert Sean Leonard and Michael Keaton.

The young lovers Hero and Claudio wed in a week. To pass the time, they play matchmakers in an attempt to get arrogant Benedick to fall in love with his favorite sparring partner, Beatrice. Meanwhile, evil Don John conspires to break up the wedding by accusing Hero of infidelity. In the end, it’s all “much ado about nothing.”

Fun fact: Set in Messina, Sicily this film was shot near Florence, Italy and made splendid use of the gorgeous countryside. The movie cast a real life married couple in the lead roles, Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. They later divorced.

Watch Much Ado About Nothing Free on Prime

Much Ado About Nothing
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Much Ado About Nothing

Only You  1994

Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr, Bonnie Hunt and Billy Zane star in this romantic comedy set in Italy.

Faith believes in destiny and soul mates. Based on a couple of incidents in her teen years, she believes she is supposed to meet and marry a man named Damon Bradley. Time passes and Faith settles for a dull man who is NOT named Damon. Ten days before their wedding, she takes a call from her fiancé’s friend, who is on his way to Venice. The friend’s name is Damon Bradley. Faith risks everything to follow this man to Italy, to see if he is really her soul mate.

Fun fact: Robert Downey Jr and Marisa Tomei reenact the Mouth of Truth scene made famous by Gregory Peck’s prank on Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday! That scene is the thing I remember most about Roman Holiday.

Rent Only You


Only You Movie
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Only You

Life is Beautiful  1997

Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi and Giorgio Cantarini star in this whimsical historical film set in 1930s Italy.

A carefree Jewish book seller named Guido begins a fairy tale life when he marries his beautiful girlfriend. They have a son and live happily until the German occupation of Italy. Attempting to keep his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a concentration camp, the father pretends that the Holocaust is a game and tells his son that the prize for winning is a tank.

Sad fact: Roberto Benigni, who co-wrote, directed and starred in the movie, says the title comes from a quote by Leon Trotsky. In exile in Mexico, and about to be killed by Stalin’s assassins, he saw his wife in the gardens and wrote that, in spite of everything, “life is beautiful”.

Watch on HBO or Rent Life is Beautiful

Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy life is beautiful
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Life is Beautiful

The Talented Mr. Ripley  1999

This thriller stars Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

In the late 1950s, Tom Ripley, a chronic underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy named Dickie. After arriving in Italy, Tom attaches himself to Dickie and his pretty fiancée, soaking up the life of luxury. Tom’s gifts include lying, forgery and doing impressions, so when the rich couple tire of him, he uses all of his talents to make the millionaire’s lifestyle his own.

Fun fact: Dickie’s favorite tailor in Rome, Battistoni, is a real tailor shop founded in 1946.

Watch The Talented Mr. Ripley on HBO or Rent

The Talented Mr Ripley
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – The Talented Mr. Ripley

Gladiator  2000

Another historical film set in Italy, Gladiator stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Richard Harris, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou and Derek Jacobi.

A former Roman general, Maximus is chosen to succeed Emperor Marcus Aurelius, rather than the emperor’s son, Commodus. A power struggle ensues, resulting in the death of Maximus’ family and his capture. He is forced to participate in the gladiator games. The fierce desire that fuels Maximus now is to survive long enough to get revenge.

Fun fact: It’s not true that a Roman emperor gives a thumbs up to spare the life of a gladiator. In reality, a thumbs up symbolized sword action and death. A thumbs down represented a sheathed sword and mercy. However, since a thumbs up is nowadays considered a good sign, the director decided to leave it and not confuse the movie audience.

Watch on AMC or Rent Gladiator

Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy gladiator
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Gladiator

Under The Tuscan Sun  2003

This romantic comedy stars Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan and Raoul Bova.

Frances, an author, struggles to complete her latest book. In the midst of her writer’s block, her husband files for divorce. Urged by friends to get away, Frances joins a bus tour of Tuscany, where she falls in love with a crumbling villa. She impulsively buys the house in Tuscany and begins a new life. Restoring her beautiful old home, she ultimately restores her life as well.

Fun fact: When a bird poops on Frances, while she is looking at the villa, the owner cries out “Grazie, Santo Francesco!”. She sees the incident as a good sign that Frances is the right buyer. Read more about good luck traditions in Italy HERE.

Watch Free on Prime or Rent Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Under the Tuscan Sun

Angels & Demons  2009

This action thriller stars Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer and Stellan Skarsgard.

Following the murder of a physicist, Robert Langdon, a symbolist, and Vittoria Vetra, a scientist, embark on an adventure that involves the secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati. Clues lead them all over the Vatican while an assassin, who works for the Illuminati, kidnaps four cardinals. The pair must also locate a destructive weapon that could kill millions.

Fun fact: Crew members visited Vatican City as tourists and took many photographs to capture as much detail as possible. They knew it was unlikely that they could film there so the photos helped them recreate the sets as faithfully as possible.

Watch Angels & Demons on Showtime or Rent

Angels and Demons movie
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Angels & Demons

Letters to Juliet  2010

This charming romantic comedy stars Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal. Vanessa Redgrave and Christopher Egan.

Sophia, an American writer on vacation in Italy, finds a 50 years old unanswered “letter to Juliet” in Juliet’s Courtyard in Verona. These letters, left in the courtyard wall by lovers, are typically answered by a group of women known as the secretaries of Juliet. Intriqued, Sophia goes on a quest to find the writer of the letter and help her find her lover.

Fun fact: Juliet’s secretaries really do exist. They are called the Juliet Club and they volunteer to reply to letters left in the Verona courtyard. They also organize events in honor of Romeo and Juliet. Juliet’s Courtyard is one of Verona’s biggest tourist attractions. I stood in that courtyard and touched the wall where lovers hide their letters.

Watch Letters to Juliet on Showtime or Rent

Letters to Juliet movie
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Letters to Juliet

Eat, Pray, Love  2010

This biographical drama stars Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, Billy Crudup and Viola Davis.

Liz Gilbert appears to have everything…a husband, a nice house, a promising career as a writer…and yet she feels like she has lost herself. After divorcing her husband, Liz embarks on a year long journey that takes her to Italy, India and Indonesia. During her travels, she discovers herself and what she most desires to do in life.

Fun fact: Rome’s two pro soccer teams, SS Lazio and AS Roma, are fierce rivals. In the book, Luca Spaghetti is an SS Lazio fan. The filmmakers made him an AS Roma fan, which enraged the local SS Lazio fans.

Watch Eat, Pray, Love on Showtime or Rent

Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy eat pray love
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – Eat, Pray, Love

To Rome With Love  2012

This romantic comedy stars Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alison Pill, Roberto Benigni and Alec Baldwin.

Four interconnected stories play out in Rome, the Eternal City. A worker unexpectedly wakes up a celebrity, an architect takes a trip back to the street he lived on as a student, a young couple honeymoon in romantic Rome and a frustrated opera singer discovers he has a gift for finding talented singers.

Fun fact: One of the characters drops her cell phone into a square manhole. The manhole cover bears the initials SPQR. This is a Roman Empire symbol. It stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” and means “Senate and People of Rome”.

Rent To Rome With Love

To Rome With Love
Movies That Inspire You to Visit Italy – To Rome With Love

Movies That Inspire Travel

I’ve seen all of these films, beginning with Roman Holiday in my childhood. Each one fed my desire to someday visit Italy myself. I own several of these movies, in DVD format, and watch them still.

How amazing, to travel through Tuscany, stand in Juliet’s Courtyard and explore Rome and Venice, and recognize locations from these films.

Movies are such an important part of my life. I love the connection between them and my travels. Watch for more posts like this one, that weld together these two passions of mine.

How many of these films have you seen? And do you have a movie that inspired you to travel?

Rome, Italy
The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

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Welcoming Winter 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.

As the days grow shorter and the chilly evenings longer, I’m reminded 2020 is winding down.  How quickly the year passed. Our trees in Missouri released their last leaves and give testament to the approach of winter.

During the strangest 12 months in my lifetime, I’ve marked the seasons partly through the arrival of my Decocrated subscription boxes! These boxes bring me new seasonal items to decorate with. Truly, Decocrated provides much needed fun and diversion as I incorporate the pieces into my home.

Check out my way to welcoming winter with Decocrated.

Welcoming Winter with Decocrated title meme

The Decocrated Winter Box

The Decocrated subscription boxes ship out before the beginning of each season, offering fresh décor pieces to incorporate into any decorating style. Each box contains seven to eight curated items appropriate for the season.

I find it easy to mix my own pieces in with the Decocrated items. And each season’s décor pieces work well with past and future boxes. Additionally, the company offers add-on boxes for specific holidays. Check out how I decorated with my Halloween add on HERE. My Christmas add on arrived today. I’ll share another post soon featuring Christmas!

The winter box décor is suitable for that time in between fall and Christmas. And it’s perfect for after Christmas as well, when all the excitement of the holidays is over and I want to enjoy my cozy home until it’s time for a spring reset.

The winter box featured artists are Kat Fonte and Cris Menedez. This season tells the story of charming winter villages, falling snow and forest greenery. Key colors are green and blue with wood accents. The pieces have a playful, cozy feel that work well in any home, no matter the decorating style.

Check out the unboxing below…and then see how I incorporated the pieces into my décor.

Welcoming Winter with Decocrated

People are decorating for Christmas earlier than ever this year. Due to COVID people are staying home more than they typically do. Bringing out the Christmas décor invites joy and beauty into the home at a time when it’s desperately needed and appreciated.

While I usually begin Christmas decorating after Thanksgiving, this year I began the shift this week. The winter pieces from Decocrated create a nice transition into the holidays as I slowly create Christmas vignettes. I’m enjoying mixing things up and departing from my usual placement of objects.

Welcoming Winter with Decocrated unboxedecocrated
Welcoming Winter with Decocrated – unboxed

Dining Room Shelves

With the exception of one spot in the living room, all of the Decocrated winter pieces ended up in the dining room, on the tall wooden shelves.

Top Shelves

On the top shelf, the sled shelf becomes a tabletop one for now. I’ll move this cute shelf into the kitchen soon, as part of a hot cocoa station. For now this wood and metal shelf holds a framed print from last year’s Decocrated winter box, wooden snowmen, a winter mug, bottle brush trees and this season’s perpetual calendar. I’ve always wanted one of those calendars! This comes with all the pieces to create the month, day of the week and date

Greg made the wood and metal wire shelf last year and I’ve used it every season. I absolutely love how the winter box village houses look tucked into the shelf. The star ornament hanging above is the perfect addition. And I accidently bought that ornament! I picked it up to look behind it for another ornament and then carried it to the check out without realizing I still held it. I didn’t want to get out of line to take it back, so I bought it. I’m so glad I did.

Welcoming Winter with Decocrated village
Welcoming Winter with Decocrated – sled shelf

The second shelf is home to the framed print for this season. I love that the green leaves work well for the holidays and also for spring and summer. It can hang on the wall, stand as a background piece or work as a tray. The trio of ceramic trees are from the winter 2019 box. I love trees. These stayed out all year. I moved them around the house as they joined different vignettes.

I popped the small winter 2020 art print into a glass and wood frame. The print and the frame are double sided so I can simply turn the frame around to display the Winter Wonderland side. The cute candle covered with polar bears came from Big Lots as did the winter mug in the sled shelf, and complements this winter vignette beautifully.

Lower Shelves

The one piece from the winter box that I felt unsure about, the boho snowflake, found a home on the third shelf. This is one of the things I love about Decocrated. I receive items I might not typically buy. Styling them becomes a fun challenge. And I’ve yet to dislike any piece once I’ve found a place for it.

I began by pairing the wooden snowflake with the woven basket from the fall box. As soon as I laid the basket on its side, my creativity kicked in. I added greenery and a white candle and boom…I loved the snowflake. On the other side of the shelf I completed this vignette by adding a group of wooden and metal trees and the word JOY. This grouping can stay through Christmas, with its reds and greens. I love it.

And the bottom shelf holds four pillar candles and the OUR HAPPY PLACE sign from the fall box. I’ll add snowmen and other Christmas items to this shelf soon.

Welcoming Winter with Decocrated JOY
Welcoming Winter with Decocrated – the boho snowflake

The Winter Pillow

Decocrated always includes fabric pieces in each box. This season, I received a lumbar pillow cover. The design is inspired by an evergreen forest. I created a cozy area on my living room sofa using the pillow and the serving tray and snuggly throw from last winter’s box.

The ceramic bird perches atop a couple of books and the candle holder features silvery snowflakes. The tray is perfect for holding a cup of hot tea and a snack. And, I must add, I’ve used that tray many, MANY times throughout the year.

Welcoming Winter with Decocrated pillow
Welcoming Winter with Decocrated – forest pillow cover

Sneak Peek at Christmas

Want a sneak peek at what I’m doing for Christmas? As part of my 63 Curious Things for my 63rd Birthday (first post about that up Monday…I’ll update with a link as soon as it posts), I created a black and white Christmas vignette. It was so fun to pull together and of course I incorporated several items from past Decocrated boxes.

The wooden crate from the fall box now holds black and white fabric ornaments instead of pumpkins. My wooden snowman is counting down the days until Christmas. And I love those fabric covered cone trees.

Welcoming Winter with Decocrated snowman
Welcoming Winter with Decocrated – black and white Christmas

On the second shelf, the black lantern from the spring box holds a bright red candle resting within a pretty candle ring. The simple black, white and gold sign wishes all a Merry Christmas.

The bottom shelf features the black lanterns from the Halloween add on box. I knew I’d use those black lanterns throughout the year. They add illumination to the black JOY sign and the cute black and white stand up signs. I love the bottle brush trees scattered throughout the shelves. They provide additional color.

This bookcase will remain exactly as it is throughout the holidays.

Welcoming Winter with Decocrated let it snow
Welcoming Winter with Decocrated – black and white with pops of red and green

Welcome Winter in Your Home with Decocrated

Are you decorating for Christmas yet? Or would you like to transition into the holiday season with winter décor?

If you’d like to receive this cozy nature inspired winter box, which will sell out I’m sure, use this link YES I WANT TO DECORATE. And, type in my code CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10 to save $10 off a seasonal box. OR use CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE30 to get $30 off a yearly subscription. The yearly subscription is the best value and you won’t miss a box.

If, like me, you enjoy decorating and connecting with others who share that joy, then you will love these subscription boxes, delivered right to your front door. Plus Decocrated members have perks such as private Facebook groups, additional items to purchase in their online store and specials like Christmas and Easter add on boxes. Those sell out very quickly.

May you know deep joy as we enter the Christmas season. And have fun decorating!

Welcoming Winter with Decocrated candlelight
I love lighting candles throughout my home!


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Ten Fun Facts About Loch Ness

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Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland is a large, deep freshwater loch extending approximately 37 kilometers southwest of Inverness. It is one in a series of interconnected bodies of water in Scotland that extends from the east to the west coasts.

Loch is the Gaelic word for lake and Scotland has over 31,000 of them.

Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, affectionately called Nessie. However, there’s more to this mysterious body of water than a sea monster.

Check out these ten fun facts about Loch Ness.

Ten Fun Facts about Loch Ness title meme

Ten Fun Facts About Loch Ness

Visitors travel to this beautiful area to enjoy the amazing scenery and to hopefully catch a glimpse of the loch’s famous monster. The loch and surrounding area are shrouded in mystery and history. Discover these interesting facts about Loch Ness that you may not know.

Largest Lake, by Volume, in the UK

It’s Scotland’s second deepest loch, however due to its size AND depth, Loch Ness contains more water than all of the lakes in England and Wales, combined! The loch contains 253 billion cubic feet of water.

Year Around Temperature

Loch Ness remains a steady 6 degrees Celsius year around. That’s a chilly 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit.  On warm summer days, the loch never warms up, making it too cold for swimmers. And even on very cold days in Scotland, the loch never freezes over. In fact, on those frigid days, steam rises from the loch, as it is warmer than the surrounding air.

Dark Water

The waters of Loch Ness are very dark and murky, due to the presence of peat washed from the hills by rain. The poor visibility underwater perhaps hides an ancient occupant. However, that murky water also hinders scientists in their attempts to locate Nessie. They have discovered thousands and thousands of golf balls though!

Ten Fun Facts about Loch Ness on the water
Ten Fun Facts About Loch Ness – the water is very dark and murky

Great Glen Fault Line

The loch is one of four in the Great Glen Valley. Glaciers carved this valley during the last ice age. Underneath the valley lies the Great Glen Fault Line. Although scientists sometimes detect seismic activity, earthquakes in the area are relatively rare. The last known tremor occurred in September 1901 and registered as a 5.0 magnitude quake. As a precaution, seismic buffers steady Kessock Bridge carrying the A9 highway out of Inverness.

Caledonian Canal

Loch Ness is part of the 60 mile long Caledonian Canal, built in the 19th century to allow ships to travel from the North Sea to the Atlantic without having to face the dangers of the Pentland Firth. The canal connects the east coast, at Inverness, with the west coast at Corpach, near Fort William.

Bona Lighthouse

Scotland’s smallest manned lighthouse, Bona Lighthouse watched over Loch Ness for more than a century. The lighthouse keeper put a lantern in the bay window, on the upper story, to guide ships from Loch Ness into Loch Dochfour. Today Bona Lighthouse serves as a charming holiday home.

Ten Fun Facts about Loch Ness
Ten Fun Facts About Loch Ness – the loch lies along the Great Glen Fault Line

Urquhart Bay

Urquhart Bay on Loch Ness and the surrounding woods near Drumnadrochit make up one of the UK’s last swamp woodlands. It is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and serves as a haven for birds.

Urquhart Castle

Located on the shores of Loch Ness, near Strone Point, this castle dates back to the 13th century. Alan Durward, son-in-law of King Alexander II built it. During its history, the English invaded it on several occasions. For a time it served as a stronghold for Robert the Bruce after he became king in 1306.

Upon his death, the castle passed back and forth between the Crown and the MacDonald Clan.

In the 1509 the castle passed to the Grant Clan who repaired it and brought it back into use. They added the five story tower.

In 1692 English forces blew it up to thwart the Jacobites. The ruins are cared for today by Historic Scotland and open to the public.

World Water Records

On September 29, 1952, John Cobb lost his life trying to gain the world water speed record. Traveling at 206 mph on Loch Ness in his boat Crusader, tragedy struck when Cobb hit an unexplained wake on the surface of the water. Because of the Englishman’s popularity with the people of Glen Urquhart, a memorial cairn is erected near the site of his accident.

Brenda Sherratt first swam the length of Loch Ness on July 28, 1966. It took her 31 hours and 27 minutes to complete the swim.

On August 31, 1974 David Scott Munro became the first person in the world to water ski the entire length of the loch. He covered 48 miles in 77 minutes at an average speed of 37 mph.

Ten Fun Facts about Loch Ness castle ruins
Ten Fun Facts About Loch Ness – the ruins of Castle Urquhart

The Loch Ness Monster

Of course I have to mention Nessie. After all, it’s what Loch Ness is most famous for.

The first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster happened in 565 AD. Saint Columba supposedly came face to face with the monster, claiming the beast rose from the loch and tried to grab his servant. According to legend, Saint Columba commanded the sea monster to go back into the loch. It obeyed.

In 1933 builders completed a road adjacent to Loch Ness, offering unobstructed views of the water. Numerous sightings came in about a large “dragon or prehistoric monster”. One couple reported they saw the creature cross the road in front of their car and disappear into the water.

Monster hunters and scientists from around the world used sonar and other scientific equipment over the years, attempting to locate Nessie. None were successful. What they DID discover is that the loch is full of eels. It’s possible that Nessie is an oversized eel that occasionally appears near the surface.

Most photos of the supposed Nessie, including the famous one from 1934, are proven hoaxes. To this day, no solid evidence of the Loch Ness Monster exists, however the creature remains popular and certainly helps to boosts Scotland’s economy.

Ten Fun Facts about Loch Ness dark water
Ten Fun Facts About Loch Ness – it’s not hard to imagine that a sea creature lurks in this dark water

Visiting Loch Ness

I visited Loch Ness for the first time in 2014 and again in 2017. Nestled deep within the Highlands, this beautiful loch is well worth a visit.

One can drive in from Glasgow, Edinburgh or Inverness. Or there are many companies that included Loch Ness as a stop on their Highlands bus tours. I joined a Rabbie’s Tour in 2014 and enjoyed the day spent in this magical region.

Included with the tour was a boat ride on Loch Ness. Seated at the front of the boat, with the wind blowing my hair, I fell in love with the beauty and mystery of the loch. And I could easily imagine a creature swimming deep within the loch although I saw no signs of Nessie.

And in 2017, on the girls’ UK trip, my sisters, mother, niece and I drove along the loch, stopping several times to take in the wonder of the area. Quoting myself, I wrote then:

“This region is so wildly beautiful that it makes my heart ache and brings tears to my eyes.”

That is still true. I didn’t visit Loch Ness on my last trip to Scotland, in 2019, however the entire country haunts me and calls to me. I can’t wait for travel restrictions to lift, so I can “go home” to Scotland.

Have you visited Loch Ness?

Ten Fun Facts about Loch Ness Urquharg Castle Tower
Ten Fun Facts About Loch Ness – Urquhart Castle Tower

Loch Ness Finds from Amazon:


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CBD Living Energy Shots

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

This is a collaboration with CBD Living. All opinions are my own.

I’ve enjoyed and benefitted from CBD Living products. Their bottled living water, infused with CBD, is amazing. (See my review HERE.)

Their product line continues to expand and includes health boosting items for people and pets. From gummies to tinctures to roll on pain relief to lotions and hand sanitizer, CBD Living has you covered.

CBD Living energy shots appeared on their fall line up. I’m excited to share about them after giving the shots a try.

CBD Living Energy Shots title meme

The Benefits of CBD

CBD is not the same as THC, the psychoactive compound known for producing mind altering effects. You don’t get high from CBD. Instead, this component of cannabis acts as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant and antioxidant.

Health benefits of CBD include:

  • Reduces anxiety and may be effective for people with social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Helps to fight cancer by inhibiting cancer cell migration and invasion.
  • Treats neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Early studies show that CBD may be promising for treating resistant seizures. Other benefits include increased alertness, better mood and improved sleep.
  • Promotes cardiovascular health and lowers the risk of diabetes.
  • Relieves pain and inflammation, which is the most common reason for CBD use. It is proving especially helpful for chronic pain and inflammation.
CBD Living Energy Shots box
CBD Living Energy Shots – box of 12

The Company

Established in 2013, CBD Living is headquartered in Corona, California. The company uses only 100% organic hemp sourced from state-licensed farms in Oregon and Colorado

The secret to their superior products, according to their website, lies in the use of nanotechnology that reduces CBD into nano-sized droplets, without the use of emulsifiers. This technique allows the CBD to immediately penetrate the body’s cells, giving increased bioavailability at the cellular level with no waiting.

CBD Living pays above market rates to their extractors and manufacturers. Their products are all fair trade and never tested on animals.

CBD Living Energy Shots
CBD Living Energy Shots

CBD Living Energy Shots

These mixed berry shots energize, focus and relax. Made with purified water, each 2 oz shot delivers 200 mg of caffeine and 30 mg of nano CBD.

The shots are sugar free, THC free and contain 100% organic hemp.

And they are easy to use.

Drink half a bottle or a whole one, not to exceed 2 bottles in a 24 hour period.

Refrigeration is not required. Discard any remaining product within 72 hours of opening the container.

Do not use the shots if pregnant, nursing or under the age of 18.

And do not use in combination with other products containing caffeine. Excessive caffeine intake may cause nervousness, anxiety, occasional rapid heartbeat or sleeplessness.

CBD Living Energy Shots glass
CBD Living Energy Shots – in a shot glass

My Experience with CBD Living Energy Shots

I appreciate the energy shots. And I had the perfect opportunity for experiencing their benefits.

My new granddaughter, Finley Grace, arrived last week. I am so grateful for her safe delivery. She is a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

Her delivery process began on Tuesday evening, with the birth taking place Wednesday night. Due to COVID, for the first time I could not wait at the hospital for the arrival of a grandchild. However, I kept vigil from home.

Naturally, I didn’t sleep. I was too excited. When tiredness crept in though, I’d drink half a bottle of the CBD Living energy shot. In all I consumed 1 1/2 of the little bottles in a 24 hour period.

The taste is perfect. Since embracing a plant based, low sugar lifestyle, I don’t like sweet drinks. The shots contain zero sugar. The mixed berry extract creates a delicious juice with a slightly tart flavor that I loved.

And this is how I described the almost immediate effect of the shots, to my daughter. I felt energized and yet calm. I did not experience an increased heart rate or jitteriness or anxiety. My ability to focus increased. And yet I felt very relaxed.

I also did not experience a crash later, which I appreciated very much. In fact, I didn’t feel any lingering after effects at all. And as a bonus, my body stayed pain free, in spite of passing the hours waiting for news hunched over a laptop or cell phone.

CBD Living Energy Shots close up
These shots taste delicious.

Purchasing CBD Living Energy Shots

Purchase your energy shots through the company website.

And do yourself a huge favor. Check out their many, MANY products and give them a try. I’m looking forward to sampling the Orange Grapefruit Sparkling Water and the assortment of loose leaf teas!

Plus I’m excited about the Travel Bundle with travel sized versions of their most popular products. It’s a great way to feel my absolute best while exploring the world.

What product do you want to try?

CBD Living Energy Shots bottle
Energized…and calm.





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Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean

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While visiting Dublin, Ireland in 2017 I enjoyed the people I encountered. From the tour bus drivers to waiters in cafés to people we chatted with in pubs, all were friendly and playful. And what is it, to Americans, that so delights us? Those charming accents and words and phrases common to their language but unique to us.

My mother, sisters and niece accompanied me on this trip, a magnificent girls’ trip across the UK. We agreed that the Irish hold a special place in our hearts. My mother’s family comes from Ireland, so perhaps it’s a familial connection. Or perhaps it’s that they don’t know a stranger. We felt very welcomed and embraced in Dublin.

Check out these fun Irish phrases and what they mean and then try them out on your next trip to the Emerald Isle.

Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean title meme

Irish Words We’ve Adopted

Some Irish words are common to the English language. We’ve adopted them. Slew, meaning a large number, comes from the Irish word slaugh, which means a host. Trousers comes from the Irish trius. Galore is adapted from go leor, meaning plenty or enough.

The Irish gave us bog, which they pronounce bug. And we get whiskey from the Irish phrase uisce beatha, which means “water of life”.  Buddy came from the Irish bhodaigh, meaning pal. And slogan originated from a word used by Irish clans in the 1670s, sluagh-ghairm, which is a battle shout.

The fun word smithereens is a gift from the Irish, from their word smidrin with the “een” diminutive added. It means a small fragment.

And do you know how we got the word boycott? It comes from Ireland’s history.

In 1880, an uncaring County Mayo land agent named Captain Boycott refused requests to reduce rents after a bad harvest. His aggrieved tenants responded by refusing to bring in the harvests. From that time on, boycott refers to shunning people, organizations or countries that do not respect human rights.

Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean temple bar area
Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean – people enjoying the Temple Bar area

Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean

Pubs truly are the heart and soul of Ireland’s cities, towns and villages. Visit them and enjoy listening to lively stories and discussions. The Irish sprinkle their conversations with sayings that are common to them and play with the English language. Now you’ll know what they mean.

Acting the Maggot

This phrase means you are probably up to no good or getting into mischief.

Oul Fella or Oul Wan

If you hear someone talking about her oul fella or her oul wan, she is referring to her father or her mother, respectively. I think I might start calling my mom oul wan!


When someone is fluthered, he is very, very drunk!

Happy Out

When you are content in your current surroundings, you are happy out.

Fun Phrases and What They Mean shopping
Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean – Happy out shoppers in Dublin.

Donkey Years

When the phrase donkey years pops up, it refers to a lot of years.

Any Use?

This questions is the equivalent of asking, “Was it good?”

The Jacks

This phrase refers to the bathroom. “Where are the jacks?” “Aye, down the stairs.” In Irish pubs and restaurants, it seems all the jacks are up a flight of stairs or down one.


One of my favorites, if something isn’t done the right way, it is arseways. In case you don’t know, arse means ass.

Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean
Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean – on our way to the jacks, while visiting a pub

Go Way Outta That

This fun phrase is an expression of disbelief. It can also be used as a refusal to a request.

Sure Look It

This phrase is very common and often attached to the end of a sentence.  It means carry on or let’s get on with it. A similar phrase, sure listen, means the same. It does NOT mean “listen to me”.


Used more in rural Ireland, ara comes before your name if someone doesn’t believe you or feels surprised or disappointed by you.

The Craic was 90

Heard frequently in pubs, this phrase means the atmosphere and fun were excellent.

Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean temple bar
Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean – the craic was 90 in all the pubs we visited!

I Will Yeah

This one makes me laugh. It’s said when a person has no intention of doing what she’s just been asked to do.

A Bag of Tayto

This is a bag of crisps…or what we call chips.

Will You Have a Mineral?

You might get asked this in a pub or café. It means, “Will you have a soft drink?” “And a bag of tayto?” Now you know how to answer!

Great Drying Out

When the weather clears up this phrase means it’s a great day to dry clothes on the line.

Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean River Liffey
Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean – all of our days in Dublin were great drying out days, weather wise.

Feck Off or What the Feck

You might easily guess the equivalent of these phrases. Replace the “e” with a “u” in  feck and you’ve got it. We heard feckin’ frequently too, placed before any word!

I’m Going on the Gargle

When you do this, you are headed out for drinks and might not be back…for days.


A dooter is a short, or wee, walk.

Aye and Naw

Aye is yes and naw is no for the Irish. Confusingly, the word yes means hello!


Used affectionately, an eejit describes someone who isn’t very bright.

Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean swans
Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean – we enjoyed a dooter through Stephens Green.

Which Phrase is Your Favorite?

Did you learn new phrases to try out? Which one is your favorite?

I hope, when travel restrictions ease, that you add Ireland to your “must visit list”. While there, listen and join in conversations and get to know the lovely and fun Irish people. Visit pubs and cafés and walk the streets and parks. Ride the hop on/hop off buses and delight in the guides, who speak with such love and passion for their cities.

And if you are going on the gargle, let me know!

Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean lunch
Fun Irish Phrases and What They Mean – our first meal in Dublin.

Another Fun Post

If you enjoyed this post, check out Fun British Phrases and What They Mean.



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Ghost Stories from Joplin

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What fun during October, to share ghost stories from some of the most amazing cities in the world. Dublin, Venice, Edinburgh and London, with their long and oft times intense histories, are considered paranormal hot spots.

I’m ending the series with my own hometown. While Joplin, Missouri does not have the ancient history, it certainly has an interesting past. The truth is, of course, that ALL cities, towns, communities and even houses, have histories and stories. And some of those stories veer sharply into the dark side.

The five ghost stories from Joplin are a mere sample of the hauntings in this area. I’ve included these because I have personal experiences with each one.

Ghost Stories from Joplin title meme

Joplin the Mining Town

Tucked into the southwest corner of Missouri, Joplin began as a mining town. After the discovery of lead, prior to the Civil War, mining camps sprang up in the area. By 1871, John C Cox filed a city plan and named the community Joplin after the earliest known settler.

Because the nearest sheriff resided in Carthage, about 15 miles away, lawlessness flourished in Joplin, along with saloons and brothels. In fact, this historic time is referred to as the “Reign of Terror”. Zinc became the primary mineral mined and railroads connected this booming town to other markets, making it a hub for the area and the lead and zinc mining capital of the world.

Construction focused primarily on Main Street with fine homes clustered in surrounding neighborhoods. Stores, bars and hotels lined Main Street. The three story House of Lords became Joplin’s most famous saloon, with a bar and restaurant on the first floor, gambling on the second and a brothel on the top floor. Secret tunnels connected several downtown businesses with the House of Lords, so that Joplin’s wealthy patrons could enter the building discreetly.

Although no longer a mining town, approximately 75% of Joplin is undermined with mine shafts up to 100 feet deep. These tunnels beneath the city are flooded and sealed, however, they contribute, I believe, to Joplin’s paranormal activity.

Ghost Stories from Joplin The Connor Hotel
Ghost Stories from Joplin – The Connor Hotel on Main Street

Ghost Stories from Joplin

Check out these five tales from my hometown.

The Ghosts of the Former Joplin Public Library

This one story building on north Main Street appears ordinary looking. Built in 1980, after outgrowing a prior location, the new library soon developed a reputation as haunted. Staff reported hearing footsteps  of someone walking up behind them, however found no one there when they turned around. They heard the sounds of books dropping from shelves onto the floor, but couldn’t find anything amiss upon investigation. And they heard whistling or music at night, when no one else was in the building.

Another building occupied that lot, before the city built their library there.

The Connor Hotel, built in 1908, was magnificent, even by today’s standards. Nine stories tall, the hotel boasted more than 300 fire proof rooms, parlors, restaurants, a barbershop, a formal ballroom, two nightclubs and a stunning rooftop garden.

The beautiful, luxury hotel welcomed celebrities and also hosted its share of gangsters and criminals. And, the building knew tragedy.

Two construction workers died during the building of the hotel, in separate accidents on site. And two died during the deconstruction of the grand old hotel, after the city purchased it. In 1978 the building suddenly collapsed during high winds, trapping three men inside as they prepared explosive charges to bring it down. Only one survived, rescued three days after the collapse.

Additionally, at least ten people committed suicide in the hotel over the years. Those tragic deaths, combined with people making shady deals in some of those fancy rooms, create some heavy energy that lingers still in that spot.

Paranormal investigators picked up unusual activity there, including a disembodied male voice that spoke to them. They confirmed what the librarians already knew…the library is home to unseen occupants.

My Experiences in the Library

I never saw or heard ghosts during my visits there. However, I always felt a heaviness in the building. Occasionally I passed through inexplicable cold spots. And often, while perusing books among the stacks, I’d glance up to see if the lightbulbs above me had burned out. They shone. But the light seemed dull and the room darker than it should have.

After the May 22, 2011 EF5 tornado tore through Joplin, the library built a new building on the corner of 20th and Connecticut. I LOVE this new library. It feels spacious, light and bright to me. The former library stands dark and perhaps not so silent, awaiting its next transformation as a satellite school to the university.

Ghost Stories from Joplin library
Ghost Stories from Joplin – the former public library

The Haunted Olivia

Another grand historic property in Joplin, The Olivia is a five story red brick building built in 1906. Anton Bendelari named the structure after his mother and when it opened, “nothing more elegant, more stylish, more convenient has yet been erected in Joplin”, said a local newspaper. The building offered 34 luxury apartments for Joplin’s wealthiest citizens and featured a beautiful lobby with pillars, a carriage house and a fifth floor restaurant where residents could dine together.

In 1908 Marvin Reynolds, a desk clerk in the building, went into the basement. He didn’t realize a leak had filled the lower level with gas. When lights didn’t click on, he struck a match, igniting the gas in a huge explosion. Sadly, he died.

Eventually, the luster wore off this building and it became low income apartments. Years later, the building in need of updates and repairs, the last residents moved out. However, those who have owned The Olivia since report someone or something still occupies the apartments. They tell stories of footsteps in the empty halls, the sounds of children running and laughing and various unexplained noises and occurrences.

Paranormal investigators explored this building too, recording distinct ghostly voices, the sounds of phantom furniture moving in empty rooms and other inexplicable noises. The Olivia is vacant still, and currently owned by a development company out of Springfield, Missouri. Future possible plans include apartments for the elderly.

My Experiences in The Olivia

In addition to writing blogs, I’m a realtor with 17+ years of experience in the Joplin area. My first scare at The Olivia happened before I got my realtor’s license however. After dropping someone off there and escorting her to her apartment, I exited the building and walked toward my car. The night seemed very dark. I turned to see several people, dressed head to toe in black, walking behind me. What disturbed me was the silence. I couldn’t hear footsteps. They didn’t talk or laugh or even breathe, it seemed. I kept glancing behind me, watching them. And then suddenly, they just weren’t there. They vanished, without a sound.

At one time, I listed the Olivia and frequently showed the  property. I’ve had numerous paranormal experiences there, including photographing an orb outside, at night, that seemed playfully engaged with a flag and hearing all kinds of unexplained noises inside.

The most curious thing that happened involved the third floor. Whenever I showed the property, that floor creeped me out the most. One apartment in particular puzzled me. Every time I entered the apartment, I’d find French doors leading to a balcony standing open. I’d shut them and continue the tour of the rest of the building. Then, checking everything before I left, I’d enter that apartment to find the doors open, again. Every…single…time. The owner tried securing the doors so that they couldn’t open at all. I’d still find them standing ajar.

I disliked that third floor and the basement the most. Once, I accidently locked myself inside The Olivia. It was all I could do to stay calm. The weight of those five empty floors above me felt oppressive. I pretended not to hear the noises echoing down the grand staircase. And the dark doorway into the basement seemed menacing. How grateful I felt when the owner arrived to let me out!

The Olivia
Ghost Stories from Joplin – The Olivia

Peace Cemetery’s Restless Spirits

You’d think a cemetery called Peace might exude that quality. You’d be wrong. Located north of the city, Peace Cemetery is one of the oldest burial grounds in Joplin, the resting place of early pioneers to the area. Visitors there report mysterious sounds, disembodied voices and strange lights. Some even tell stories about attacks that include scratches and being pelted with sticks or rocks.

And then there is the shadowy figure of a man that’s said to prowl among the tombstones. He is the most infamous person buried in Peace Cemetery.

Billy Cook, a 21 year old Joplin native, began a 22 day killing spree in 1950 – 51. Traveling through six states, Billy murdered six people, including a family of five and their pet dog, and a deputy sheriff in California. He dumped the bodies of the family members in a mine shaft near Joplin. Authorities caught him in Mexico. Billy spent time in San Quentin Prison before dying in the gas chamber.

Because of his crimes, no one wanted to claim his body when it returned to Joplin. Ultimately, he was buried in an unmarked grave, just beyond the edge of the cemetery. Billy’s restless soul cannot find peace.

My Experience in Peace Cemetery

My grandson Dayan and I used to have fun geocaching. One of the caches we tracked down lay hidden in Peace Cemetery. And, of course, it was near the Cook plot. Although Billy’s grave is unmarked, it’s not hard to figure out the general area of its location, even without a headstone.

Creeping toward the tree where the geocaching app indicated the prize lay, Dayan and I felt a strange heaviness in the area. In fact, Dayan, who was a young teen at the time, stopped walking and refused to go any further. In complete disclosure, he doesn’t like spiders and feared one might drop out of the tree. And yet, he also felt a strangeness that he didn’t like.

I located the container, tucked into a hole at the base of a tree, and marked it found. Billy’s grave was nearby. And I felt so disoriented, so dizzy. I stood frozen, staring at Dayan, who also stood very still, staring wide eyed back at me. Some sound broke through the weirdness…I believe it thundered…and everything returned to normal. We did not linger but jumped into the car and drove away.

I visited the cemetery today, to take a few photos. That weird feeling came over me again and stayed with me as I slowly drove down the dirt lane.

Ghost Stories from Joplin Peace Cemetery
Ghost Stories from Joplin – Peace Cemetery

Prosperity School Ghosts

Prosperity is a former mining community just east of Joplin. The big red brick school house, built in 1907, served as a school for children until 1962. After it closed, it sat abandoned for 30 years. Stories began then that the old school house wasn’t as empty as it seemed. Reports of ghost children running in the halls and of a spirit nurse circulated.

Eventually someone purchased the property and turned it into a bed and breakfast. The classrooms became small apartments, available for a weekend or for a longer lease.

Guests and tenants confirmed the stories about ghost children. They claimed the lively little spirits came into their rooms at night, played with toys and rearranged objects or even crawled into bed with them. Lights and other electrical appliances turned themselves on and off. And shadow figures slid down hallways or disappeared through the  walls.

Recently, one of the owners of Prosperity School died. The property went up for sale but no one would buy it. It went into foreclosure and sold. It is a private residence now. I don’t know how the new owners are doing in the school house!

My Experiences in Prosperity School

I joined a paranormal research team one night, in this property. Hearing the stories and creeping through the darkened building is unnerving. However, I got to watch the team work and see how the scientific equipment is used. It was exciting and a big step for me in overcoming my fears of the supernatural.

The team picked up voices using a spirit box. And we caught shadow figures moving in the upstairs hallway. In one of the bedrooms, a child communicated with us by turning lights on and off in answer to questions. I felt cold spots and my scalp and upper back constantly tingled with energy.

I did fine in the property, with other people. It is not a place I’d want to be alone after dark!

Prosperity School east of Joplin
Ghost Stories from Joplin – Prosperity School

The Joplin Spook Light

Joplin’s most famous supernatural phenomenon, people have reported sightings of this ghostly light for more than 100 years. Located south and west of Joplin, just across the Missouri – Oklahoma line, it’s also called the Hornet Spook Light, after the community that existed there long ago.

Most often described as an orangish white sphere, the light bobs up and down the dark country road called The Devil’s Promenade by the locals.

According to legend, the light may have been seen by Native Americans along the infamous Trail of Tears in 1836. However, the first published account of the light appeared in a pamphlet called Ozark Spook Light in 1881.

The sphere of light appears as a single orb that may split into two or more smaller balls. Spinning, rising and hovering, the light may soar above the trees or skim along near the surface of the road. It can be baseball or basketball sized and may suddenly bloom larger before disappearing. People have tried to approach it, by car and on foot, but it is usually elusive. However, some people, and my mother is one, have seen the light approach and bounce over the car or disappear and then reappear on the other side of the vehicle. Others claim it’s come into their car.

Studies of the phenomenon are inconclusive. Theories ranging from swamp gas (Joplin doesn’t have swamps) to headlights from cars on distant I-44 (the light doesn’t look like headlights or move like a car) to a luminescence created by rotting organic material seem to fall short of actually explaining what the spook light is.

Origin stories include a Quapaw maiden looking for her lost love, a miner looking for his missing family and an Osage Chief who was decapitated looking for his head.

Whatever it is, the ghostly phenomenon seems here to stay. The Joplin Spook Light is seen almost nightly.

My Spook Light Sighting

I really intended to visit the spook light before writing this post. That has not happened…yet. However, I did see the spook light myself, many years ago. My son and younger daughter, both in their teens at the time, went with me.

We parked on the dark road and didn’t wait long until the bright light appeared down the road. We watched it for some time. It would move, grow dimmer, grow brighter and disappear for a short time before bouncing back. I have no explanation for what it is.

And, I have no photo of the Joplin Spook Light, however, below is the best video I found. See what you think!

The End of the Stories…or Is It?

This post concludes the October Ghost Story series. Thank you for reading along. I’ve appreciated and enjoyed your comments!

I have a lifetime of paranormal experiences. I could tell so many more ghost stories, especially from the Joplin area. And in fact, I intend to.

I’m currently writing a book, tentatively titled “House H(a)unting: An Intuitive Realtor’s Journey Beyond Fear”. As a realtor, I’ve been in many, many houses. And as an intuitive, I can tell you whether they are haunted…or not…if you really want to know.

I’ll keep you updated on the book. And as always, I’d love to read YOUR stories in the comments below.

House Haunting Book Cover
More Ghost Stories from Joplin – coming soon!


Ghost Hunting

Check out this Joplin area paranormal group. They often host investigations and interesting talks. Paranormal Science Lab

And check out these books from Amazon:


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

The Veggie Table

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

As one who lives a plant based lifestyle, I’m always on the hunt for restaurants and cafés that offer vegan options. I’m fortunate that my hometown of Joplin, Missouri has several such restaurants. I regularly patronize those.

And it’s a delight to discover a new place.

Recently, after walking on the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista, Arkansas, I checked to see if any cafés nearby offered vegan meals. Happily, one popped up a short distance away. Unfortunately, the café was closed on that day. However Bella Vista isn’t far from Joplin. Greg and I made a deliberate trip back to Bella Vista, just to check out The Veggie Table. I’m so glad that we did!

The Veggie Table title meme

The Veggie Table

First of all, I love the clever name of this café. Say it out loud a couple of times…veggie table…veggie-table….vegetable. I adore cleverness!

The Veggie Table is a health focused restaurant and bar. The emphasis is on presenting a variety of dishes that are vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, sustainable and organic. Their desire is to change the world and the way people eat, one meal at a time.

Their mission so resonates with me! This is a restaurant with a higher purpose and I am excited to share about my experience there and support their intentions.

The café is attractive and casual, making it the perfect hangout spot to meet friends, enjoy a delicious meal, have a drink….or all three!

The Veggie Table interior
The Veggie Table’s cute interior. I took this photo AFTER a sizeable group of diners left the restaurant.

Meet the Owner and Chef of The Veggie Table

I enjoyed meeting the owner and chef as we finished our meal.

Abby Milam is an Arkansas girl, born and raised in Fayetteville. She left for a time, to attend culinary school in Switzerland and to travel the world. During her travels she learned about other peoples, places, cultures, and food.

The love of cooking runs in her family. She grew up observing and learning from her grandmother, dad and mom. At some point she realized that the way food is raised, grown and consumed is unhealthy. Those realizations spurred her into action. Abby’s hope and goal is to make healthy food accessible to everyone.

She is doing that, admirably. The Veggie Table planned a spring opening this year. That was postponed slightly until July, due to COVID.

The Veggie Table Ferni with chips
My travel mascot Ferni accompanied us to The Veggie Table. She’s pictured here with veggie chips.

Enjoying an Amazing Vegan and Gluten Free Meal

Greg and I studied the menu. The Veggie Table offers a variety of healthy meals such as salads, with or without protein, bowls such as salmon quinoa or mushroom, and wonderful main dishes.

One can choose from bison burgers or impossible burgers, Waldorf chicken salad on an oat waffle or a mushroom Reuben sandwich with vegan cheese. Try a veggie wrap or a gluten free pizza on a cauliflower crust.

And the sides are just as tantalizing. Add sweet baby carrots with parsley to your meal or enjoy roasted Brussel sprouts or veggie chips. See the full everyday menu HERE.

We started with a bowl of crispy veggie chips to munch on. And we probably should have chosen different meals. However, when we saw the tostados on the menu, we both knew that’s what we wanted. They are the BEST tostados I’ve ever eaten. Greg felt the same way. Baked corn tortillas come topped with lentils, quinoa, shredded cabbage, jalapeno, avocado, cilantro and salsa. Yum!

We did order different desserts. Because yes, The Veggie Table offers vegan and gluten free desserts, served in tea cups! You know I had to have one, just to see it arrive in a tea cup. Greg sampled the banana pudding while I tried the chocolate avocado mousse with berries. Such wonderful desserts in perfectly sized portions. I savored a cup of herbal tea with my treat.

The Veggie Table tostados
The BEST tostados I’ve ever had and they are vegan and gluten free and BIG on taste.
The Veggie Table dessert
Chocolate avocado mousse with berries and a cup of hot tea.

Where to Find The Veggie Table

We so enjoyed our meal. The cozy interior encouraged us to linger and take our time with our food, which is the very best way to eat.

Our attentive waiter, Norm, kept glasses of water filled and offered helpful suggestions. He also answered my questions and directed Abby to our table when she was free.

And I appreciate Abby and the vision she carries. Greg and I plan another visit very soon, to sample more of this café’s tasty meals.

The Veggie Table is located at 1733 Forest Hills Blvd in Bella Vista, Arkansas, just south of the Missouri border. The café is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. And Sunday they offer brunch from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. I understand that the brunch is incredibly good. I can’t wait to try it.

Currently, masks are required when entering the restaurant and if you leave the table to go to the restroom, in accordance with their state’s regulations. Tables are spaced to maintain social distancing and the whole restaurant is meticulously clean.

If you live in the four state area, or happen to be passing through, treat yourself to the hearty and nourishing meals at The Veggie Table. You won’t regret it. And tell Abby I sent you!

The Veggie Table Ferni
Such cute decor.




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, all at no extra cost to you.