JoJo Rabbit Movie Review

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During the weeks leading up to the 92nd Academy Awards, I enjoyed watching all of the Best Picture nominated films. Nine outstanding films offered nine important messages about society, determination, war, peace, acceptance and inclusion. For a brief summary of each worthy film and to discover which one won the Oscar, in case you don’t know, read my post Best Picture Winner.

I found truths to appreciate about all nine films. Joker impacted me the greatest, with its bleak portrayal of a man struggling to find his place in society. This film though, JoJo Rabbit, really pulled me in to the story and stayed with me. So much so, that I want to share a more in-depth review.

This is a spoiler free review of the unique film, JoJo Rabbit, an anti-hate satire that uses dark humor to pierce the heart, and lodge there.

JoJo Rabbit title meme 2

JoJo Rabbit Cast

This history inspired drama, with comedic overtones, stars Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johannson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant and Archie Yates.

The screenplay, written by Taika Waititi, was inspired by the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens. Waititi won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and the film received five more Academy nominations, including Best Picture. JoJo Rabbit carries a PG-13 rating, for moderate profanity, intense scenes and mild violence, and has a run time of 1 hour and 49 minutes.

JoJo Rabbit JoJo and Yorkie
Best friends, JoJo and Yorkie
Imaginary friend
JoJo Rabbit and his imaginary friend.

JoJo’s Big Dream

Ten year old JoJo Betzler (Davis) lives with his mother Rosie (Johannson) in a little town in Germany during WWII. His father is absent, fighting in another country, leaving JoJo the little man of the house while his mother works to provide for them.

Often left on his own, JoJo longs for connection and a cause to fight for. More than anything, this earnest and patriotic boy wants a place in Hitler’s Nazi army. He idolizes the Fuhrer so much that Adolf (Waititi) appears as JoJo’s imaginary friend. JoJo poses his many questions to Hitler and in return, the Fuhrer offers advice and commentary on the boy’s life, cheering him on when necessary.

And it is often necessary. JoJo and his best friend Yorki (Yates) dwell on the fringes when they attend a training camp for Hitler youth. Led by Captain Klezendorf (Rockwell), his second in command Finkel (Allen) and Fraulein Rahm (Wilson) the camp employs unusual techniques to teach their young comrades obedience, loyalty and intolerance.

Although JoJo strives for excellence, the older boys torment him. He earns the nickname, JoJo Rabbit, when he refuses to kill a rabbit on command. After he runs off into the woods, Hitler appears to offer a pep talk. He tells JoJo that rabbits possess excellent qualities such as speed and sends the boy sprinting back into camp.

JoJo leaps into the circle of boys as Captain Klezendorf holds aloft a live grenade. Full of adrenaline fueled courage, JoJo grabs the grenade and dashes off with it, barely tossing it before it explodes. That’s the end of youth camp for JoJo, who returns home to recover from his serious injuries.

JoJo Rabbit mother and son
The bond between mother and son.

The Secret Upstairs

JoJo recovers slowly from the accident, which leaves him with scars on his face and a limp. Feeling he’s ugly now, the lonely boy seeks seclusion at home. Even Hitler’s chats don’t cheer him up.

Rosie uses humor and a mother’s love to pull her son out of his isolation. They ride bicycles and take long walks together. She attempts to broaden his perspective by speaking truthfully about the war efforts.

“The Reich is dying. We’re going to lose the war and then what are you going to do, hmm? Life is a gift. We must celebrate it. We have to dance to show God we are grateful to be alive.”

At home alone one day, JoJo hears suspicious noises upstairs. Stealthily tracking down the sounds, he pauses outside his sister’s room. She passed away recently. Her bedroom remains untouched. Unexpectedly, JoJo discovers a young woman, Elsa (McKenzie) secreted away behind a false wall. Hidden there by Rosie, JoJo is shocked to learn Elsa is Jewish.

Everything JoJo learned about the Jewish race appears to be wrong. Elsa doesn’t have horns or evil intentions. Although he and Hitler plot to get rid of her initially, JoJo decides to write a book about the Jewish people, with Elsa supplying the information. The more the boy learns from Elsa, the more confused he becomes. She seems nice. And like him, she spends a great deal of time alone. A friendship blossoms between them.

When the gestapo shows up at the house, led by Captain Deertz (Merchant), JoJo no longer wants to rid himself of Elsa. Instead, like his mother, he seeks to protect her. How much longer will they be able to do so? And at what risk?

JoJo Rabbit group meeting

Elsa, living life hidden away.

My Thoughts on JoJo Rabbit

I attended the viewing for this film with no idea of the story line, beyond the Germany setting during WWII. In fact, it’s likely I would have missed this movie had it not received a Best Picture nomination, deeming it “not my style of film”. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to change my opinion.

This is a quirky, oddly hilarious at times, completely heart-warming film with amazing portrayals by a talented cast. I can’t praise it enough. From the strange relationship between JoJo and Hitler to the tender one between mother and son to the growing friendship between German boy and Jewish girl, this movie captivated me. I laughed and I teared up. And at one point I wanted to wail with sorrow. While JoJo Rabbit appears lighthearted on the surface, it impacts the heart deeply and it broadens the mind.

I love Waititi’s brilliance as a screenplay writer, director and actor. He moved me and unsettled me. I eager anticipate anything else he creates.

JoJo Rabbit Taika Waititi
Taika Waititi is from New Zealand.

The Takeaway

The scene that I cannot forget is near the end of the movie. The town is under attack as the war draws to a close. Fraulein Rahm thrusts rifles into the hands of young boys with these instructions: “Shoot anyone that doesn’t look like us.”

I can’t forget that line. Shoot anyone…kill anyone…that doesn’t look like us. One can easily substitute other words. Ridicule anyone…ignore anyone…bully anyone…attempt to control anyone…hurt anyone…shame anyone…that doesn’t look like us.

With a single line Waititi powerfully reminds us of what it means to be human and to love humanity, whether they look like us, like me, like you, or not. Movies like JoJo Rabbit give me hope that we are growing, and can continue to, even though we have a long journey yet ahead.

Let me know if you’ve seen this unforgettable film and share your thoughts.

JoJo Rabbit anti hate satire
An anti-hate satire

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Fix Her Crown Award

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Recently I wrote a post called Fix Her Crown. Based on a social media challenge making its rounds and a quote that kept surfacing for me, the post encourages women to post photos of themselves and tag other women to do the same.

That post continues to receive a lot of traffic, which in turn inspired this twist on the challenge. I’ve created the Fix Her Crown Award as a way to show appreciation for women who reach out to their sisters in the queendom and fix their crowns in a kind way.

I’m excited to nominate the first ever group of ladies to receive this award that is shared via blog posts rather than social media.

Listed below are suggestions for sharing this award and recognizing women for all the beautiful work that they do.

Fix Her Crown Award title meme

Fix Her Crown Quote

The quote that inspired this challenge resonates with me.

“Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown, without telling the world that it was crooked.” Unknown

During this time when division over differences is rampant in the world, expressing kindness by “fixing her crown” feels so important. It’s not about fixing the woman. That is not our role. This is about helping in a situation or offering an encouraging word or coming alongside for a time. It’s about raising awareness so we notice when a sister’s crown has slipped and then offer help without expecting anything in return.

The woman receiving the Fix Her Crown Award is the kind of woman who accepts, encourages and supports her sisters. When she sees something she can help with, she does so quietly, without making a big deal about it or broadcasting to the world that her sister needs help.

Fix Her Crown Award Floral

Fix Her Crown Award Rules

The rules are simple:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to her blog.
  2. Copy and paste these rules to your post and please include a link to the Fix Her Crown Award post.
  3. Post three photos of just yourself and write a short caption beneath each about why you chose that photo.
  4. Nominate seven women for the Fix Her Crown Award, women who lend a helping hand to the woman whose crown seems too heavy, who appreciate the sister who dares to be her own glorious self, who raise strong young women, who smile at the sister journeying alone and walk alongside her for a time, who stand with the sister whose crown has been knocked off her head time after time and women who shine as their own beautifully unique selves.
  5. Link to the blogs of the seven nominees.

My Three Photos

These are the photos that I selected as an example for the Fix Her Crown Award.

I am a Dreamer

One of my favorites, I love this photo because the shirt, I am a Dreamer from Solgave Clothing, captures the essence of my trip to Italy. My grandson and I planned our trip five years before it became reality. Standing in Venice, I can proclaim that dreams do come true.

Healthy Glow

This photo was taken less than a year into my healing journey, and what amazing changes had occurred in my health and in my body. I felt good, for the first time in many years!

Edinburgh Light

My favorite photo ever, this one is from last July in Edinburgh, Scotland, my favorite city in the world. This photo was taken in the apartment my sister and I stayed in on Thistle Street. It reminds me of the amazing experiences we shared, exploring the city and meeting Scottish kin for the first time.

My Nominees for the Fix Her Crown Award

I am blessed to call so many incredible women my sisters. These first nominees exemplify helping others without calling attention to themselves and yet they shine brilliantly in the world. Being their glorious selves gives other women permission to do the same. They are all living life beyond the edges!

Esme,  Esme Salon

Talat,  Racing Tigers

Rose, Rose Hahn

Justine, The Tea Chest

Denise, Many Facets of Life

Kim, Kim’s DIY Tribe

Heidi, Rise Love Live

For inspiration and encouragement, check out the blogs by these amazing women.

Spread the Love

If you have received the Fix Her Crown Award, please spread the love to other women who are making a difference in their communities and the world.

And if you have found this blog post on your own, it is no accident. You are here for a reason and you are awarded as well. Create your own post, following the rules listed above, and nominate your sisters.

We are here to build each other up, without comparisons, judgments or jealousies. Let’s link arms in love and support each other, as we journey onward together.

Fix Her Crown Award Logo






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Making Kindness the Norm

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February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day in the US. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, founded in 1995, is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Random Acts of Kindness Day originated in New Zealand in 2004.

The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about the global need for kindness. This unique holiday encourages us to practice kindness in random ways with friends, family, strangers and animals.

The Foundation’s mission is to change schools, the workplace, families and society through kindness. This is the Foundation’s Random Acts of Kindness Week with the theme of Making Kindness the Norm.

I love the emphasis on kindness, defined as expressing friendliness, generosity and consideration. And I appreciate that practicing kindness is not limited to one day out of the year. Consider making kindness the norm every day, with these tips.

Making Kindness the Norm title meme

Kindness Provides Health Benefits

This morning I followed curiosity down an interesting trail. Aware of Random Acts of Kindness Day, I wondered if expressing kindness towards others offers any health benefits to the giver. It does!

Kindness and empathy help us to relate better to others and develop positive connections with family, friends, animals and even total strangers that we encounter. Beyond improving relationships, kindness can make us healthier in these ways:

  • releases the “feel good” hormone serotonin
  • eases anxiety and boosts self esteem
  • releases the hormone oxytocin, which benefits heart health by lowering blood pressure
  • reduces stress by helping us get outside our own lives while we focus on others
  • produces oxytocin which also lowers inflammation in the body, a condition linked to disease
  • prolongs life by helping to strengthen relationships, which in turn supports heart health and positively raises mental outlook

We don’t practice kindness to create better health. We practice kindness to better the lives of others, in small and large ways. The health benefits are a wonderful “perk”! Energetically, what you put out into the world flows back to you. Kindness does good and produces good in the body.

Making Kindness the Norm with Animals
Making Kindness the Norm with Animals
Making Kindness the Norm Now
Making Kindness the Norm…Now

Making Kindness the Norm

Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website  for lots of activities that promote kindness. They offer a fun challenge that promotes kindness as the norm at home and in communities. The challenge involves completing a series of kindness activities to fill in 60 hearts. Activities are worth one, two or three hearts, depending on how challenging they are.

Activities include random acts of kindness, writing prompts, self care and even coloring pages.

“Imagine a world where we can succeed by being nice, where we all look out for each other, where we pay it forward and where kindness is the norm.”  Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Additionally, the site offers classroom activities, quotes, posters, inspiration and an extremely cool 2020 Kindness Calendar with a suggested act of kindness for every day of the year. I absolutely LOVE that. All these resources are free and downloadable.

Leaving Encouraging Notes
Making Kindness the Norm – leaving encouraging notes
Be Kind
Be Kind

Ways to Practice Kindness

On this day, on every day, these are simple ways for making kindness the norm:

  • volunteer at a animal shelter, a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a school
  • ties scarves around trees in cold weather and tuck gloves into hats and place on benches
  • donate your time, your money, your wisdom
  • walk the neighbor’s dog
  • babysit for free for a single mom or dad
  • carpool to work
  • smile at everyone
  • high five a stranger
  • shop for a shut in
  • call your grandparents
  • clean house for an older family member
  • send an encouraging text
  • mail a card to brighten someone’s day
  • give out hugs
  • in a drive through pay for the person behind you
  • leave change in a laundry mat or taped to a vending machine
  • hide encouraging notes in random places
  • allow a car to cut in front of you in traffic
  • run errands for someone who is ill
  • invite a lonely person out for tea or coffee
  • give groceries to a shelter pantry
  • donate clothing to a community closet
  • give garden produce away
  • pick up trash in parks and neighborhoods
  • use less plastic
  • compliment a stranger
  • visit a nursing home
  • write reviews for local businesses, organizations you care about, products you love
  • practice cyberkindness to counteract cyberbullying
Making Kindness the Norm Helping Children
Making Kindness the Norm – helping children
Kindness is Love
Kindness is Love

Be Kind

Scott Adams said,

Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

Let’s create ripples that circle the globe, on this day, during this week and throughout the year. Join me in making kindness the norm, every day.

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Check out these related posts:  Random Acts of Kindness Week 2018

Kindness is Contagious – Pass it On from 2017

Kindness Find on Amazon:



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Best Picture Winner

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The 92nd Academy Awards show is over and the winners in 24 categories chosen, including the Best Picture winner. I enjoyed a week of watching all of the Best Picture nominated films ahead of the Oscars. All nine films showcased extraordinary talent while offering unforgettable stories.

Which movie became the Best Picture winner? Read on. And discover why all of the nominated films are worth watching.

Best Picture Winner title meme

Best Picture Nominees

An amazing selection of movies received nominations for the Academy Awards’ top prize. Several focused on historical events or particular time periods. Others explored human nature. One examined the challenges of dissolving a marriage. All contained unique twists within their plots.

The nominees included: Joker, Ford v Ferrari, JoJo Rabbit, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Little Women, The Irishman and Parasite. Rather than write a full review of each movie, I chose to present them as a group with a brief summary for each and my thoughts about why these films are important.


Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 2 minutes

Written and directed by Todd Phillips. Nominated for 11 Oscars, it won two, a well deserved Best Actor for Joaquin and Best Original Score.

Stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert DeNiro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy

In Gotham City, clown performer Arthur Fleck feels his purpose in life is to make people laugh and bring joy to others. Society sees him differently. His uncontrollable laughter and awkwardness in social situations brings Arthur cruel taunts and acts of bullying. Fed up, the wannabe comedian strikes out. A crime committed in self defense leads Arthur down a path that ultimately births his new identity as Joker.

My Thoughts

My favorite among the nominees, this film is so much more than a nemesis story. Yes, we witness the events that created Batman’s enemy, Joker. However the story examines much deeper issues including mental illness, bullying, acceptance, compassion and the role society plays in helping or harming someone who has lost his way. The twist in Joker is seeing him as an anti-hero rather than just the “bad guy”. We care about what happens to him and recognize the freedom he feels as his alter ego emerges.

This film moves me deeply. Some scenes are violent, however look past that. Allow this powerful movie to stir compassion for everyone and especially those who feel invisible.

Best Picture Nominee Joker
I wanted Joker to be the Best Picture Winner!

Ford v Ferrari

Rated PG-13  Run time 2 hours 32 minutes

Written by Jez and John Henry Butterworth and Jason Keller. Directed by James Mangold. Nominated for four Oscars, Ford v Ferrari took home two, for Film Editing and Sound Editing.

Stars Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitriona Balfe, Josh Lucas and Tracy Letts

Set in the mid 60s, Ford v Ferrari follows American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles as they journey toward the grueling 24 hour Le Mans race in France. There they hope to take their modified Ford to the finish line ahead of the mighty Ferrari.

My Thoughts

Although I’m not an avid race car fan, the sport holds a special place in my heart because of my dad. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Don’t let the race car theme deter you from watching Ford v Ferrari. The pleasant twist is, it’s not primarily a movie about fast cars. Rather, it’s about the best things in life…doing what you love, being who you are and traveling through life with good people by your side.

You might cheer during the exciting race scenes. You’ll definitely applaud the friendship and loyalty between Shelby and Miles.

Best Picture Nominee Ford v Ferrari

JoJo Rabbit

Rated PG-13  Run time 1 hour 49 minutes

Screenplay by Taika Waititi, based on the novel by Christine Leunens. Directed by Taika Waititi. Nominated for six Oscars, JoJo Rabbit won one for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Stars Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell and Rebel Wilson.

JoJo is a 10 year old boy living in Germany with his mom during WWII. More than anything he longs to be part of Hitler’s Nazi Army. Indeed, JoJo’s imaginary friend is Der Fuhrer himself. The earnest boy finds his world turned upside down, however, when he discovers a teenage Jewish girl hiding in the attic, secreted away by his mother.

My Thoughts

This film, like Joker, impacts me strongly. I expected a quirky comedy. JoJo Rabbit is that, and so much more. What a performance Davis gives, as a lonely boy who wants to belong to something bigger than himself. This coming of age story twists the film’s dark humor into something profound, piercing the heart as JoJo grasps that people are more alike than they are different. You’ll laugh…and cry…and cheer this little hero on as he understands the sacrifices the goodhearted make, to create change in the world. Watch for a full review of this thought provoking movie from me soon.

JoJo Rabbit

Marriage Story

Rated R  Run time 2 hours 17 minutes

Written and directed by Noah Baumbach. Nominated for six Oscars, the film won one, for Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern.

Stars Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Scarlett Johannson and Alan Alda.

Marriage story is a powerfully insightful look at how a marriage can come apart while a family stays together. The players in this story involve more than the distressed couple. Other key roles belong to the couple’s son, extended family members, friends, co-workers and attorneys whose tactics sometimes seem contrary to what Charlie and Nicole want.

My Thoughts

Anyone who has been married for more than a minute knows this truth: marriage is challenging. Yep, even the best marriages experience  gripping sorrow and pain along with great joy and intimacy. Marriage Story often feels like a punch to the gut, so raw are some of the scenes. And yet, watching the growth the characters undergo as their relationship unravels feels so authentic. The wonderfully redemptive twist in this story is this…all that chaos and emptying of emotions and soul searching can result in a different kind of relationship. Does it require work too? Absolutely.

Best Picture Nominee Marriage Story


Rated R  Run time 1 hour 59 minutes

Written by Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns and directed by Sam Mendes. Nominated for 10 Oscars, 1917 won three: Cinematography, Visual Effects and Sound Mixing.

Stars Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch

On a battlefield in Northern France, two young soldiers are selected to carry an urgent message to an isolated regiment. The message revokes orders to attack German troops that are supposedly retreating. It is a trap. At risk are 1600 men, including the brother of one of the young men. Time is of the essence and the journey harrowing as the two soldiers cross dangerous territory to reach the regiment.

My Thoughts

War movies are one of my least favorite genres. I was tired when I plopped into my theater seat and hoped I’d stay awake. Truthfully, 1917 kept me on the edge of my seat. Cleverly shot in such a way that the camera never leaves the boys during their perilous journey, this film deserved the Cinematography Oscar. The effect is stunning and makes the viewer feel a part of the trek through enemy territory. Inspired by the stories of Mendes’ grandfather, a WWI veteran, 1917 is hauntingly beautiful. Its focus is on friendship, determination and courage. I intentionally had no idea what happened on the shared journey or how it all ended. Therefore, a surprising twist in the story caught me off guard. See if it does the same to you.

I felt like this was the likely Best Picture Winner

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rated R  Run time 2 hours 41 minutes

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood earned 10 nominations and took home two Oscars, one for Production Design and the other Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt.

Stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Mike Moh, Luke Perry and Al Pacino

A fading television actor and his aging stunt double attempt to capture fame in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age. As a subplot, Cliff the actor lives next door to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. He and his stunt double friend unwittingly tangle with the Manson Family.

My Thoughts

As a child of the 60s, I found much to enjoy about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I love the references to popular shows on television during that time and the portrayals of so many familiar celebrities. The huge twist in this film is the Manson Family/Tate element. I had no idea it was part of the story and its inclusion created tension during the movie. As the infamous and horrific incident involving Sharon Tate approaches, that tension increases drastically. Let me just say, the ending of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood surprises and at first left me full of questions. Tuck this hint away: remember the title of the movie. It is an important clue when you reach the final moments.

Brad Pitt is a charming actor who easily assumes roles. He deserved the Best Supporting Actor award.

Best Picture Nominee Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Little Women

Rated PG  Run time 2 hours 15 minutes

Screenplay by Greta Gerwig, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott. Directed by Greta Gerwig. Nominated for six Oscars, Little Women took home one, for Costume Design.

Stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern and Timothee Chalamet

Jo March reflects on her life as she tells the heartwarming story of the March sisters. Each girl desires to live life on her own terms and develop her gifts.  In a post Civil War era, independence is not accepted in young ladies and certainly not encouraged, except in the March household. Jo finds her voice through her writing and seeks to publish her work.

My Thoughts

This film is, I believe, the 7th adaptation of Alcott’s much loved story. The actresses perfectly captured their characters. The bond between sisters…and sometimes the rivalry…propels this beautiful film. Scenes alternate between an earlier and a later time period, which is a bit confusing initially. The girls do not change much in appearance, in that relatively short span of years, so one is forced to identify which time period the story is in by the situations in the girls’ lives. I got the hang of the back and forth narrative about half way through the movie.

The marvelous twist in this version of Little Women is the ending. Interpretation is left somewhat to the viewer. However, Greta Gerwig intentionally gave Louisa May Alcott the ending the author wanted for her story…and did not get, due to publisher demands. Taking to Google to fact check a few things, I appreciate Greta’s gift even more. If you enjoy period pieces and authentic costumes, you’ll love this film. And I’d like to know what you think about the ending.

Best Picture Nominee Little Women

The Irishman

Rated R  Run time 3 hours 29 minutes

Screenplay by Steven Zaillian based on the book by Charles Brandt. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Nominated for 10 Oscars, The Irishman didn’t take home a single one.

Stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Ray Romano.

Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran looks back on his life and the many hits that defined his career with the mob. Connected to the Bufalino crime family, Sheeran claims a part in the disappearance of his friend, and the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa, who mysteriously vanished in 1975, has never been found. Sheeran shares the story of what really happened and how the friendship with Hoffa affected him.

My Thoughts

I’m not a fan of mob movies. However, I enjoyed watching De Niro, Pacino and Pesci flesh out their respective characters and interact with each other. Through the wonders of de-aging technology, we even get to see these amazing actors as they were in their 40s.

The movie is long. I’m grateful that it’s a Netflix production. I watched The Irishman in two sittings. While I often flinched over the violent ends that many characters met, by the end of the film I felt invested in the outcome. And that is the twist for me. I genuinely wanted to know what happened to Jimmy Hoffa and The Irishman. Curiosity led me once again to Google to research the movie’s claims. If you appreciate historical films, curiosity will grab you by the hand and run with you through this one, to the very end.

Best Picture Nominee The Irishman


Rated R  Run time 2 hours 12 minutes

Written by Bong Joon Ho and Jin Won Han. Directed by Bong Joon Ho. Nominated for six Oscars, Parasite captured four of them, including Production Design, Film Editing, Best International Film and…ta da…it earned the Best Picture winner title.

Stars Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Woo-sik Choi, So-dam Park, Jeong-eun Lee and Hye-jin Jang.

Kim Ki-taek, his wife and two adult children are all unemployed. Living in a musty basement, the family barely scrapes by, using their wits and wily schemes to bring in small amounts of money. And then through an unexpected opportunity each family member finds employment with the wealthy Park family. As the Kims  ingratiate themselves into a different lifestyle, feeding off of the trust and generosity of the Parks, a secret arises that threatens everything.

My Thoughts

Parasite is an astonishing film that highlights the division between classes of people, in this case, the rich and the poor. What begins as a story with comedic overtones shifts into something much darker and grittier, with sinister elements. There are oft repeated words spoken about “not crossing the line”. At first it’s implied that the line represents personal space or even morals. But the division is stronger than that, more complex and more difficult to cross. The comedy becomes a tragedy with an unforgettable message. Parasite haunted me for days after viewing it.

Best Picture Nominee Parasite
The Best Picture Winner

Best Picture Winner

What an amazing group of strong films. Although 1917 held a slight edge as the projected best picture winner going into the award show, anything seemed possible. I wanted Joker to take home the Oscar. I predicted 1917  as the winner, and yet, Parasite seemed poised to claim the ultimate prize. After seeing Bong Joon Ho’s film, I left the theater thinking “Best Picture Winner” right there.

Parasite won, amid cheers and applause and a standing ovation from the audience. History was made. Parasite is the first non-English film to win the Best Picture Oscar. Bong Joon Ho and his cast and crew received the award with grace and genuine surprise and humble words. The news made the front page in South Korea, and well it should. The world is shifting.

Love these films or hate them, viewing them is like placing a finger on the pulse of the world. Do you want to see the shifts occurring around the world? Do you want to gauge the health of humankind? Watch these nine best picture nominated movies. You’ll know…

Oscar goes to…the Best Picture winner, Parasite.

Check out the full list of Oscar winners HERE.

And purchase or rent these films below at Amazon:



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10 Kitchen Herbs to Grow in Water

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We typically associate gardening with digging in the dirt in a dedicated garden space. Or perhaps gardening is tucking plants into pretty ceramic pots. However, there are gardening tasks to do year around, even during the winter months. And gardening can move indoors to the kitchen.

Try these 10 kitchen herbs to grow in water. No dirt or green thumb required! And the convenience of snipping fresh herbs for a cup of tea or cooking is wonderful.

10 kitchen herbs to grow in water title meme

Set Up

Any waterproof container works for growing herbs in water. If it holds water, it is suitable. Line up a row of mason jars. Try vases in various sizes. Or browse your favorite flea market for one of a kind containers. Additionally, you need a window sill, bench, table or counter top near a sunny window.

Before frost nips the garden, bring in herb clippings to root in water. Or simply visit the produce section of the grocery store and purchase your favorite fresh herbs. Cut stems six to eight inches long and remove leaves from the bottom four inches. Before placing stems in water, make a fresh diagonal cut across the bottom of the stem.

Fill containers with fresh water. Do not use distilled water, as plants need minerals. When using clear glass containers, change the water frequently to prevent algae growth. Opaque containers don’t require changing as often.

Add prepared stems to water in containers and place them in a sunny location. Growing these plants in water creates a steady supply of fresh herbs. Snip leaves as they reach full size, to encourage new growth.

10 Herbs to Grow in Water

These 10 kitchen herbs are perfect for rooting in water in your kitchen.

1. Oregano

Oregano spices up pasta, sauces, soups and broths. This herb loves growing in water and can get big fast so keep it cut back. It loves sunshine.

2. Peppermint

One of my favorite herbs for tea, peppermint is perfect for relieving an upset stomach, soothing tight muscles and calming the body. Chew on a few fresh leaves for a quick energetic pick me up. Peppermint thrives in a partially shady window as well as a sunny one.

Peppermint in Water
10 kitchen herbs to grow in water – peppermint

3. Thyme

Thyme is another great herb for adding flavor to Italian dishes, soups and sauces. I also enjoy thyme tea. And it is one of the herbs I use in my DIY Vegetable Broth. Thyme prefers six to eight hours of sunlight a day.

4. Basil

Fragrant basil is a wonderful addition to pasta, sauces and soup. Plus it is the key ingredient in fresh pesto. Basil is another prolific herb that thrives in water. And it enjoys plenty of sunlight.

Growing Basil in Water
10 kitchen herbs to grow in water – basil

5. Chives

Chives are very easy to grow in water. This member of the onion family flavors a variety of dishes from soups to stir fries. Change the water every couple of days and make sure the herb receives lots of sunlight.

6. Lemon Balm

Another favorite of mine, this member of the mint family has a distinctive lemon scent and flavor. Lemon balm tea relieves indigestion, calms the body, soothes anxiety and allows the body to relax into sleep. Check out this lemon balm, fennel and thyme tea.

Lemon Balm in Water
10 kitchen herbs to grow in water – lemon balm

7. Lavender

This herb is worth growing in water just for its marvelous fragrance. Simply inhaling lavender’s scent calms the body. As a tea it eases depression, relieves migraines and promotes a good night’s sleep. Dry the leaves and tiny flowers and make sachets for drawers and closets.

8. Rosemary

I love inhaling this herb’s magical scent as well. Rosemary flavors rice and lentil dishes, roasted potatoes, soups and sauces. It makes a wonderful tea as well. Rosemary will tolerate partially shaded areas although it thrives best in full sunlight.

Rosemary in Water
10 kitchen herbs to grow in water – rosemary

9. Marjoram

This herb does well rooting in water although it is slower to grow. Use this fragrant herb in soups and sauces or combine with thyme or rosemary for a powerful tea. Marjoram prefers full sunlight.

10. Cilantro

Cilantro thrives as a water plant although it needs plenty of sunlight. Use this herb in homemade salsa and Mexican dishes. Or for powerful health benefits, add cilantro to juices and morning smoothies.

10 Kitchen Herbs to Grow in Water cilantro
10 kitchen herbs to grow in water – cilantro

Other posts in the Backyard Garden Series

Gardening in Winter

Spring Garden Tips

Containers for Rooting Herbs




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Creating Digital Vision Boards with Canva

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I’ve created vision boards for many years. I make a new one every January, from poster board, magazine cutouts and glue, and hang it in my creative studio. Looking at it daily inspires me and guides me toward my goals and desires.

Recently my friend Rose shared about creating digital vision boards. I loved her idea and immediately created one on the free app, Canva. That digital version is now the wallpaper on my iphone. I’ve shared it on social media as well.

Today another idea popped into my head. Why not create a digital board for my current, unfolding opportunities? These are mostly short term plans and goals that are in development. I enjoyed making that second board so much that I decided to share the step by step process of creating digital vision boards with Canva, with you.

Creating Digital Vision Boards with Canva title meme

Why Create a Short Term Goals Board

Here are my reasons for creating another digital vision board.

Making any kind of vision board sends a message out into the universe that I am open to receive and to create. It’s an invitation for muse to play and co-create with me. For that reason it is important to achieve clarity on goals and desires so that the message I am sending out is clear.

The board hanging in my studio focuses on writing, blogging, travel and the continuation of my healing journey. My first digital board, pictured below, affirms those goals in a simplified format. That board also contains my word for 2020, curiosity, my symbol the key and a reference to my song for the year.

Following Curiosity
First digital vision board

I’m already seeing powerful shifts around my goals and desires for this year, which is another excellent reason for making a short term goals board. I want to keep several time sensitive opportunities in my awareness. Creating new boards around fresh opportunities and goals is a great way to generate that top of the mind awareness.

The process is simple, fun and offers an artistic outlet. I’m all for playing as a high form of creative expression.

I believe that the energy we put out there attracts like energy. As I play and create and release my intentions, desires and goals, similar energy flows back to me. Manifesting is working with that energy to create what you desire. Creating digital vision boards with Canva puts that energy out there.

The Step by Step Process for Creating Digital Vision Boards with Canva

I’ve been using Canva for a little over a year. This amazing design site offers a free version, which is all I’ve ever used. I initially experienced a time of a learning, as I explored this new creative app. However, I love Canva now and use it daily to make pins and graphics for my blogs and media posts.

Check out Canva online or download the app. And then let’s create!

Choose a Design Template

For digital vision boards, use the instagram story template. There are many pre-made templates to choose from. However, for our purposes, choose the blank instagram story template.

Tap the background to begin editing. We want to start with a colored background. I use teal, blue and green colors with Cindy Goes Beyond. I started the process by adding a soft teal color. You can save colors that you use often. Don’t worry about that today. Snap a screenshot, if you want, capturing the color code for future reference.

Adding color

Add Text

After selecting a color, add main text. Click the + symbol in the lower right corner. That brings up options such as text, images, videos, illustrations and shapes.

Adding text

There are many fonts to choose from. I use the same fonts in my digitals, just as I do colors, for branding consistency. My favorite fonts are aileron and playlist script. Type the text first, then select size, font and color.

I added the title to my board, changed the font to playlist script, changed the color of the words from black to a darker greenish blue and increased the size of the letters.

Changing the font color

Adding Pictures

For me, this is the fun part, adding visual representations of my desires. One of the desires going on this board is visiting the Christmas Market in Edinburgh, Scotland in December. I clicked on the + symbol then chose illustrations.

I typed Christmas into the search bar. Scrolling through free Christmas drawings, I felt drawn to an old fashioned sleigh and a wreath. I added those to my digital board. Reduce the size of the image or make it larger. Change the colors. Move them around. See the squares with the arrows, up at the top edge of the screen? Those buttons allow layering the images. I placed the wreath behind the sleigh.

Adding images

In the other corner I added a castle, to represent Edinburgh Castle and added the words, “Edinburgh, Scotland, Christmas Market, December 2020”.

A cool feature on Canva is adding frames, into which you can add your own photos. Click the + symbol, click on illustrations, then type the word frames in the search bar. A variety of frames pop up.

Adding Frames

I chose one that looks like a computer and added an actual photo of a travel writing opportunity I’m currently working on. Canva offers the option of choosing from your own photos stored on the computer or phone. Accompanying illustrations and words describing the opportunity complete that section.

Computer frame

Using frames

Continue Adding Words and Visual Representations

I added two more frames, one for a writer’s fellowship I’m applying for and one that holds a mock up of the book I am writing. I made that book cover on Canva as well. To create space, I easily moved the title words lower on the page.

More frames

I found the words “live your dream” and added them, changing the colors to better match my theme. At first I added July 2020 to the writer’s fellowship opportunity, then realized the words are printed on the photo in the frame.

On the photo below you can see that I typed the word writing into the illustrations search bar, looking for a pen to add to my board. I found one.

Adding symbols and words

The Completed Board

It took me approximately 30 minutes to create this digital vision board. Adding specific words is important. Those details solidify goals and give depth to dreams. I identified the opportunities and included the dates that I know.

Finally, I added the tag lines from my blogs. The words, living life beyond the edges and healthy at every age, guide me daily. They provide perspective and insight and challenge me to live the words I use to encourage others. They also shape the posts that I write.

To save a completed piece, touch the down arrow in the upper right corner. The work is saved on your device. Then touch the horizontal arrow in the upper left corner. Your work is saved on the Canva site or app. It is easy to edit the digital at any time.

Taking Action

It’s crucial as well to take action. I can look at these opportunities on my digital board multiple times a day, however to birth them or something like them, I must take action steps. For two of these opportunities, there are deadlines to meet and packages to put together and writing to do.

Whether those opportunities bear fruit or not, the practice of acting on what I am given brings more such opportunities to me. This isn’t weird woowoo stuff. It’s energy. It’s positive re-enforcement.

Image taking your small daughter to her first ballet. She responds well, enjoys the ballet, enrolls in a class, practices at home. You’d do all you could to encourage her desires and dreams by offering her more ballet opportunities.

If your wee girl didn’t like the ballet, appeared bored and disturbed people around her, you’d decide she wasn’t quite ready for this opportunity. Perhaps later, when she showed interest in something else, you’d offer encouragement in that area to see how she responded.

That’s a simple illustration, however life is like that. Energy is like that. What we put out there, we get back. What we move toward, moves toward us. When we fail to act on inspiration, it goes elsewhere. The question is, what are you putting out there and what are you moving toward and what is inspiration offering to you?

A vision board sends a strong signal out into the world and beyond. And a digital vision board reminds you of your desires, as you look at your phone or social media sites multiple times a day. What a great tool.

Are you ready to create a digital vision board?

Creating Digital Vision Boards with Canva

If you have questions, ask them in the comments!


Want to make a vision board to hang in your home or office? Click the photo below to check out this kit.


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.