Create Happiness in 2022

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A dozen years ago, I bought myself a wooden sign to hang on my wall. It served as an important reminder of a truth I sought to embrace.

“Happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances.”

During that challenging time, as I released all that was not me, faced down fears and accepted myself completely, I discovered much about happiness. I learned what it is…my responsibility and my creation…and what it isn’t…found outside myself.

And while creating happiness looks a bit different for everyone, there are habits we can cultivate that fill us up with our own specific brand of happy. It is possible to create happiness in 2022.

Create Happiness in 2022 title meme

Create Happiness in 2022

Do you expect others to make you happy? Or do you take responsibility for your own joy and happiness, just as you do your health and wellness?

It’s easy to blame unhappiness on others or on circumstances. A romantic relationship shifts, illness strikes, the promotion goes to someone else, a friend disappoints, we lose a pet or a family member. Our joy dwindles away. Happiness becomes an elusive thing that taunts us.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

When we take responsibility for our own happiness, we discover that we are able to make choices that release others from the burden of making us happy. We find that our responses to challenging times change. Sadness, anger, and a host of other emotions still arise occasionally, however we are no longer defined by them. Our happiness remains at our core, deep, sustaining and unmovable.

Shifting from unhappy to happy doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an intentional journey. The following habits cultivate it and help happiness to bloom into a magnificent way of being.

Practice Gratitude

Regularly expressing gratitude is a life changer. It’s the foundation for joy and happiness. Start small, if this is a new practice. Write or speak aloud a gratitude from the day, every evening before sleeping. A daily gratitude practice has the power to transform perspectives and raise awareness. We see how much we have to express gratitude for.

Seize the Moment

Let go of the past and refuse to dwell on it, replay it or create internal conversations about it. Doing so is such a waste of energy and contributes to feelings of regret and unhappiness.

It’s equally unproductive to worry about the future. That creates anxiety, another drain on energy and wellbeing. It’s fine and even desirable to make plans or set goals for the future. Fretting about what might happen erodes happiness.

Learn to stay present in the moment. Use meditation or a word (I use the word “adsum“) to gently bring yourself back to the present. Savor the moments. Look for the good.

Keep a Journal

Free write, record your thoughts, list the things that make you smile, jot down dreams, hopes and intentions. Capture the moments that made you feel good. The end of the year is the perfect time to read back through your writings and recognize all the blessings in your life.

If a blank page in a journal seems intimidating, try a guided journal, such as Get Untamed The Journal by Glennon Doyle.

Create Happiness in 2022 journal
Create Happiness in 2022 – journal

Walk in Nature

Walking in nature reduces anger, fear and stress while increasing joy and happiness. A Finnish study found that people felt restored and happier after a short 15 minute walk through a forest.

Check out the health benefits as well HERE.

Spend Quality Time with Family and Friends

The last two years changed the way many of us connect with family and friends. It’s important, for us and for our loved ones, to spend time together even if those connections are through Zoom calls, FaceTime, phone calls or texts. Spending time with people we care about releases the feel good hormone dopamine.

Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Yep, people who eat more fruits and veggies experience greater happiness, studies in Germany and Australia found. They also possess higher levels of life satisfaction and mental wellbeing. Including more fruits and veggies improves overall health, and when we feel better, we feel happier.

After many years of experiencing chronic pain and a host of ailments, switching to a plant based diet created a level of health that I had never experienced before. As a result, I often feel euphoric. This, I realized, is what healthy feels like…and I love it.

Create Happiness in 2022 fruits and veggies
Create Happiness in 2022 – eat more fruits and veggies

Take Care of You

Connected to eating better, is taking excellent care of yourself. Self care contributes to wellbeing and health, which boosts happiness. Self care includes downtime, learning how to soothe yourself, yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and using positive, kind words in inner dialogues and when talking about yourself. And, don’t compare yourself to others or to what others post on social media.

Practice Acts of Kindness

Doing good for others not only benefits the receiver, it benefits the giver as well. Acts of kindness release serotonin, another feel good hormone. Serotonin does amazing things for the body, stabilizing mood and producing feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

Make a list of acts of kindness, such as paying for a coffee for the person behind you in line, complimenting a stranger, helping a young mother load groceries in the car or picking up trash at a park. Raising your awareness about possible ways to spread kindness increases the potential for carrying out such acts.

Create Rituals that Support You

Find comforting, pleasing rituals that make you smile. These might be as simple as putting a fresh glass of water by your bed at night to a whole morning routine. One of my favorite rituals that makes me smile is opening the blinds on my windows every morning, to let the light in. Another is afternoon tea time, no matter where I am.

Create Happiness in 2022 rituals
Create Happiness in 2022 – one of my daily rituals…afternoon tea


Physically smiling raises mood. When we smile, the brain releases neuropeptides that reduce stress. And then those happiness hormones…dopamine, serotonin and endorphins get released as well. Studies show that even forcing a smile boosts mood and happiness levels. Add to your happiness by smiling at others and saying “hello”!

See the Bigger Picture

Even happy people experience challenges. What they learn, however, is that challenging times don’t last. And growth typically happens as we journey through them.

Learn to step back and broaden your view. What can you learn during this time? Remind yourself that this difficulty will pass, leaving you wiser and more resilient. Do as I did and hang a visual reminder that happiness is not dependent on circumstances. Use affirmations, prayer, positive self talk, intense self care or meditation to help you gain a bigger perspective of the situation. Especially during challenges, allow yourself to find moments of joy.

Read Widely

The people of Iceland are considered some of the most cheerful people on earth. One reason is due to their love of reading. Reykjavik is a UNESCO City of Literature.

Scientifically, reading is similar to meditation. It puts our brains into a pleasant trance-like state that promotes relaxation and calmness. Those who read often experience better sleep, lower stress, higher self esteem and greater happiness than those who don’t read. And, reading opens the mind to broader perspectives and fires up the imagination.

A few of my favorite books: Untamed, Loving What Is, The Untethered Soul, Eat, Pray Love.

Pursue Dreams and Goals

Taking responsibility for your own happiness allows you discover what you most enjoy doing and what dreams and goals you want to pursue. By not relying on others for happiness, you can get clear on what it is that you want.

Want to write a book? Learn the steps to get that story published. Is travel what lights up your heart? Go…even if you go alone. Don’t waste a moment of your time doing things that don’t bring you joy. Feed your happiness.

A couple of nights ago, I dreamed I had a terminal illness. I’m a lucid dreamer and could have changed the dream or “healed” myself but I chose to go with it. In the dream I decided I didn’t want to spend a moment of my precious remaining time doing anything other than what was most important to me. I said “no” to things that didn’t align with me and “yes” to the things that did. I awoke thinking “Ohhh….that’s what the dream was really about…staying in alignment with what I most want to do.”

In reality, our time on earth IS limited. Do the thing. Don’t wait.

Create Happiness in 2022 do what you want to do
Create Happiness in 2022 – a solo trip to Charleston, one of the things I wanted to do…and did in 2021

How Will You Create Happiness in 2022?

In spite of the unusual challenges of the last two years, do you feel anticipation for 2022? Is cultivating your own happiness high on your list of intentions for the new year?

I continue to cultivate my own happiness after making shifts 12 years ago. It’s an ongoing journey. Am I happier? Yes. Do I still experience challenges occasionally and move more deeply into the practices listed above to go beyond? Yes.

I’m excited about 2022. It’s my Year of Adventure and I remain open and optimistic about where those adventures will lead me and how my happiness will continue to expand.

Which happiness habits do you practice? And which ones do you want to incorporate into your life?

Create Happiness in 2022 happy


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Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri

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During these past two years, with travel more restricted due to the pandemic, I’ve discovered that adventures are literally everywhere. I don’t have to travel far to find fun places to explore.

On a recent solo getaway weekend, my destination lay 75 miles east of my hometown of Joplin, Missouri. Springfield is a big, sprawling city that offers many fun experiences. For this weekend, I chose a part of the city that I didn’t even know existed.

Come explore historic C Street in Springfield Missouri and see why I enjoyed my weekend so much!

Explore Historic C Street title meme

Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri

C Street is what the locals call Commercial Street, in northern Springfield. This six block historical section of the city is home to coffee shops, a variety of restaurants and charming stores. It’s an oasis with a small town feel, in the midst of a big city.

My weekend here, with Culture Boutique Hotel as my home base, included doing an Adventure Challenge. The challenge was to explore in a new area, visit a restaurant and a museum or shop, and then create a fresh narrative about that place.

While I explored C Street, I created a story about this charming and delightful small town, in the shadow of a much larger one. Because those six blocks lined with 1870s and 1880s buildings reminded me of a thriving downtown in a small community.

When I later researched C Street, I discovered my made up narrative was actually the truth. Commercial Street used to be the hub of a small town, North Springfield.

Historic C Street shops
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri – shops and restaurants
Explore Historic C Street downtown feel
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri with its downtown feel

The Origins of C Street

In 1870, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad came into the area. It bypassed the town of Springfield and laid tracks north, to the new community of North Springfield, established with the purpose of attracting the railroad.

A commercial district grew around the train depot and Commercial Street was born.

Many Springfield businesses moved to the new district, catering to the railroad personnel, inhabitants and travelers. Bars, restaurants, hotels and shops opened. Commercial Street was THE place to go for good food, unique shops and music.

North Springfield became a part of Springfield in 1887. The area continued to thrive until the 1960s. When rail travel declined, the population and businesses shifted south.

The Commercial Club, found in 1928, fueled interest in revitalizing the area. The street was designated a historic district in 1978 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Today it is once again a thriving area favored by artists, craftsmen, teachers, students and businesses.

Explore Historic C Street art
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri – street art

Explore the Restaurants on C Street

You won’t find chain restaurants or fast food joints on C Street. Savor a meal in one of the area’s fine restaurants. From local flavors to ethnic foods, coffee or tea to breweries, C Street is a delight for the culinary adventurer.

The Artisan Oven 206 East Commercial – offering breads, pastries, desserts, coffee and tea and breakfast and lunch.

Basilico Italian Café 306 East Commercial – offering Italian food for lunch and supper.

Big Momma’s 217 East Commercial – offering coffee and tea and soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods for breakfast, lunch and supper.

Café Cusco 2234 East Commercial – offering Peruvian inspired meals for lunch and supper. (Read my review of Café Cusco HERE). Reservation required.

Eurasia Coffee and Tea 445 East Commercial – offering casual dining for breakfast, lunch and supper plus coffee and teas. This café is part of Culture Boutique Hotel and open to the public.

Gilmore’s Tea Room 211 East Commercial – offering a variety of teas and sweet treats plus lunch.

La Habana Vieja 220 West Commercial – offering authentic Cuban cuisine for lunch and supper.

Linberg’s Tavern 318 West Commercial – the oldest tavern in Springfield offers drinks and meals from noon until midnight.

Pizza House 312 East Commercial – offers hand rolled, thin crust pizza from 11:00 until 9:00

Ruthie’s on C Street 504 East Commercial – offering soups, sandwiches, drinks and live music.

That Lebanese Place 338 East Commercial – offering authentic Lebanese food for lunch and supper.

Van Gogh’s Eeterie  334 East Commercial – offers Dutch inspired food for breakfast, lunch and supper. Reservation required.


Moon City Pub 420 West Commercial – offers craft beers and cocktails plus gourmet soft pretzels and live music

Q Enoteca 308 West Commercial – offering wine, craft beers and appetizers.

White River Brewing Company 505 West Commercial – offering beers and live music.

Creating Adventure cafe cusco 2
Café Cusco, serving delicious Peruvian food.

Explore the Shops on C Street

A variety of unique and fun shops await the visitor to C Street. I love that it’s easy to walk this six block area and discover so many interesting places to explore.

I share just a sampling of what’s available on historic C Street.

Askinosie Chocolate  514 East Commercial – offering award winning, made from scratch chocolates.

Chabom Teas & Spices 209 East Commercial – offering a wide variety of spices and spice mixes plus teas and tea blends.

Cymphony’s on C Street 426 West Commercial – offering unique clothing and treasures.

Footbridge Trading Company 320 East Commercial – offering unique gifts from local artisans.

Gypsy Girl Junk 225 West Commercial – offering vintage and flea market type finds.

Hakaar’s Bazaar 217 West Commercial – offering vintage furniture, decor and lots of fun stuff.

Ms Gilmore’s Vintage Suitcase 211 East Commercial – located in the same shop as Gilmore’s Tea Room, this fun space offers clothing, new merchandise, collectibles and antiques.

Springfield Mercantile Co 326 East Commercial – offering natural home goods for a simple, sustainable lifestyle with zero waste.

A Wench in Gear 301 East Commercial – offering upcycled, sustainable corsets and clothing.

Although it is closed for the season, The C Street City Market, 321 East Commercial, offers local produce, soaps, baked goods, herbal tinctures and salves, gifts, jewelry and so much more, from April until October.

Explore Historic C Street mercantile
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri – Springfield Mercantile Co
Explore Historic C Street tea market
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri – Chabom Teas and Spices

My Experience on C Street

I am so grateful that I ended up on C Street, for my solo getaway weekend.

I parked my car at the hotel and didn’t get in it again until I headed home. Within walking distance of the hotel are all the restaurants and shops I wanted to explore. I enjoyed breakfasts and suppers at Eurasia Coffee and Tea. Plus my first experience with Peruvian food happened at Café Cusco when I dined there for lunch on Saturday.

And I loved my leisurely explorations in the eclectic shops.

One of my favorite experiences was afternoon tea at Ms Gilmore’s. I seriously could spend an entire day wandering around that two story shop and the tea was delightful.

I look forward to another trip to historic C Street. One visit is not enough to see all that there is to see! I appreciate the warm, close knit community and all that it offers.

Are you ready to explore historic C Street in Springfield Missouri?

Explore Historic C Street tea room
Alice in Wonderland inspired tea room in Ms Gilmore’s.


Click photo to order vintage sign.


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Creating Adventure

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With less than a month until my 64th birthday, I’m ticking off the activities on my list of 64 wild things to do. During this time between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, I’m delving deeply into adventure. This is good! Adventure is my word and theme for next year and this in between time is prepping me for the new year it seems.

I am creating adventure. How you ask? I’m breaking out of routines, thinking about experiences rather than material things, dreaming big, putting action with my dreams and learning that truly, adventure is everywhere. And, I’ll allowing myself to be guided, invited and inspired.

Check out the first post in the birthday series HERE, for an explanation of this fun, ongoing celebration.

Creating Adventure title meme

11/30/21 Have My Daughter-in-Law Create T-Shirts I Design (in process…I have one more shirt to design before Megan can create my tees.)

12/1/21 Email Pitch to Honolulu + Accommodations (in process)

12/2/21 Eat at a New to Me Restaurant (completed)

I completed this activity while on my solo getaway weekend in Springfield, Missouri. I chose Café Cusco, a Peruvian restaurant near my accommodations. My meal…vegan sweet potato noodle stir fry…tasted amazing! A few drops of their house hot sauce added to the outstanding flavor of the veggies and noodles. How fun to experience Café Cusco and Peruvian food for the first time.

Creating Adventure cafe cusco meal
Creating Adventure – Café Cusco meal.

12/3/21 Plan an Alleyway Garden (in process)

12/4/21 Watch an Adventure Documentary (not completed although I’ve selected “Expedition Happiness” to watch)

12/5/21 Reconnect with Tai Chi (in process)

Years ago, I took Tai Chi lessons with a local instructor. I loved those lessons in moving meditation….until my legs could no longer keep up with my desire to continue. Pain stopped the Tai Chi. Although I am healing, and no longer in intense pain, my legs remain more stiff than I’d like. One of my goals for 2022 is to strengthen my legs and create greater flexibility.

I expressed a desire to return to my Tai Chi practice. The next day, I received an invitation on Facebook from an instructor in the UK who offers free daily Tai Chi lessons. I accepted that invitation! Check out the page if you are interested as well.

Creating Adventure tai chi
Creating Adventure – Tai Chi

12/6/21 Research Things to Do in Providence, Rhode Island (completed)

Providence is on my list of 15 cities I most want to visit!

12/7/21 Research Things to Do in Tempe, Arizona

Tempe is also on my list of 15 cities I most want to visit. I discovered both Providence and Tempe while doing research for Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US. I fit the hipster definition well and feel drawn to exploring these fun cities.

Creating Adventure tempe
Creating Adventure – Learning about Tempe

12/8/21 Email Pitch to San Francisco + Accommodations (in process)

12/9/21 Send Thank You Notes/Emails to Inspiring Wild Women (in process)

12/10/21 Research Things to Do in Boston (completed)

This city is high on my list of places I want to explore! Historical Boston offers so many fun things to do. My list is long.

Creating Adventure boston
Creating Adventure – Boston

12/11/21 Create Adventure Artwork for 2022 (in process…this art represents my symbol for next year, the VW van.)

12/12/21 Email Pitch to Carmel By the Sea + Accommodations (in process)

12/13/21 Drive Around and Look at Christmas Lights (completed)

It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed this seasonal activity. Greg and I drove to Carthage, Missouri on a mild evening, taking in the festive light displays there. I snapped a photo of a cute display on the historic courthouse lawn, then we walked through the light tunnel, off of the square. We also walked through Carthage Central Park. Thousands of lights adorn the trees, making it a magical experience.

Creating Adventure christmas lights
Creating Adventure – Christmas Lights

12/14/21 Do the 30 Day Instagram Reel Challenge (scheduled to begin January 1, 2022)

Reels are an excellent way to grow an Instagram account. I’ve been reluctant, however, to create them as consistently as I should. This challenge is a fun way to get me in Reel creative mode. You can join the challenge HERE.

Adventure is Calling

And I am answering that call!

Have you heard the expression that what you focus on expands? As I am focusing on 2022, my Year of Adventure, adventures are flowing to me. I’m an active participant in creating adventure by not just waiting for it to find me but by planning and taking action steps and also by remaining open to those surprise opportunities that arrive as invitations.

Additionally, I’m discovering that adventures are everywhere. Although I love international travel, I’m also exploring in my own area and enjoying those experiences.

I’m loving the Year of Adventure already.

What are you focusing on, for 2022?

Creating Adventure cafe cusco 2
Café Cusco, serving delicious Peruvian food.


Click photo to order shirt.



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Culture Boutique Hotel A Unique Place to Stay in Springfield Missouri

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One of my yearly personal traditions, as I move toward my January birthday, is a solo getaway weekend. Going off by myself allows me to reflect on the past year and dream big for the upcoming one. Typically, I find a place to stay a short distance from home, so as not to use up time traveling. Last year, due to COVID, I stayed home and created a staycation in my room.

This year, through a series of synchronicities, the most amazing and fun place showed up, within 80 miles of home. Culture Boutique Hotel, a unique place to stay in Springfield Missouri, perfectly checked all my boxes and allowed me a weekend of restoration, planning, playing and exploring.

Culture Boutique Hotel title meme

C-Street in Springfield

Springfield, Missouri lies 75 miles east of my hometown of Joplin, making it ideal for my getaway weekend. It’s an easy drive up I-44. This sprawling city of 167,000 offers many exciting events and experiences. However, I tend to visit smaller, more artsy towns for my getaways. I love to surround myself with charm, beauty or the out-of-the-ordinary as inspiration for planning a new year.

Culture Boutique Hotel sits at the corner of Benton Avenue and Commercial Street in Springfield, called C-Street by the locals. This six block historical section of the city is home to coffee shops, a variety of restaurants and charming small stores. It’s an oasis with a small town feel, in the midst of a big city. I’ll be sharing more about this lively community in an upcoming post.

The hotel’s location appealed to me. Although I spend most of my time in my accommodations during my getaway, C-Street offered opportunities to experience a Peruvian lunch, enjoy an afternoon tea and explore shops.

The biggest draw for me, however, was the hotel itself. The more I read about it, the stronger my desire became to spend the weekend there.

Culture Boutique Hotel end photo
Side view of Culture Boutique Hotel on C Street

Culture Boutique Hotel

This unique hotel offers six themed suites for guests, in a 1880s two story building converted into accommodations, a café and a meeting room called the Fireside Gallery. Each suite is inspired by a city in Eurasia. The accommodations showcase furnishings and features made from reclaimed and repurposed materials from the original building. The rooms are spacious, exceptionally clean and comfortable, with a beautiful, minimalistic feel.

The suites are:

  • Jaipur, India
  • Pokhara, Nepal
  • Casablanca, Morocco
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Tallinn, Estonia

Each suite offers a kitchenette with mini fridge, Eurasia Coffee Co coffee, electric kettle and microwave, cable tv + wifi and king sized COMFY beds. Some suites also provide a whirlpool tub. All are decorated with art and décor from the cities whose name they bear.

Culture Boutique Hotel lobby
Culture Boutique Hotel – entrance and sitting area

Eurasia Coffee Co

The café, Eurasia Coffee Co is located on the first floor, while all of the suites are upstairs. This popular gathering spot serves Eurasia Coffee Co coffee and drinks. smoothies, bakery treats and breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. They have vegan options.

This casual café is ideal for grabbing a meal, working on the laptop while sipping a coffee or tea and carrying goodies up to the room to enjoy later.

I ate dinner here both nights and carried chia pudding, made with coconut milk and fresh berries, up to my room for breakfast each morning. I also snagged scones to enjoy with hot tea in my room.

Culture Boutique Hotel cafe
Eurasia Coffee Co – onsite café

Fireside Gallery Meeting Room

This multi-purpose space provides two meeting rooms, seating for up to 35 people and catering upon request. It is perfect for showers, business meetings, photoshoots and family gatherings.

This cozy space was in use all day Saturday, by at least two different groups. I snapped a phot Friday afternoon, right after I arrived.

Culture Boutique Hotel fireside gallery
Fireside Gallery

The Story Behind Culture Boutique Hotel

Justin Beiler founded Eurasia Coffee & Tea Co, initially selling products to local businesses and churches. He gave 10% of sales to support projects in Eurasia, including healthcare and education and causes that fight against modern slavery and poverty.

Justin met his wife, Karen, in 2013. Both were raised as missionary kids…Karen in Japan and Justin in Austria. Justin’s parents serve as area directors for Assemblies of God missionaries in the Eurasia region.

The two married in 2015 and opened the café the same year, in the building on Commercial Street that Justin purchased in 2011. The Frisco Opera House originally occupied the brick structure, built in 1882. The building changed ownership over the years, becoming a boarding house, a drug store and a mattress shop, among other things.

The Beilers wanted to make use of the building, in a unique way that honors their connection to the Eurasia region and highlights the social justice projects there. Culture Boutique Hotel is the wonderful result. Staying at the hotel is a cultural event indeed that promotes good in the world, as well as providing a comfortable and interesting experience.

Culture Boutique Hotel eurasia
Culture Boutique Hotel – such a fun view from the elevator, of a map of the Eurasia region. I smiled every time the elevator doors opened.

My Experience at Culture Boutique Hotel

I arrived by car on a Friday afternoon and left Sunday morning.

I stayed in the Tallinn, Estonia suite. On Saturday I chatted with Justin and got a peek into a couple of other rooms. He shared that the Tallinn suite occupies the space of the former opera stage. Standing together in the hallway, he painted a picture of what the building looked like then, with its wide staircase leading up to the opera house. Later, when the boarding house occupied the building, a kitchen and bathrooms for the boarders filled the space where my suite now exists. As a history buff, I like knowing those stories.

Tallinn is the largest suite, being at the back of the building. I felt charmed as soon as I opened the door. Truly, with its kitchenette, dining and living areas, huge bathroom with shower and jacuzzi tub and spacious bedroom, the suite feels more like an apartment. Large skylights in the living room and bedroom provide natural light. I loved the bright space. Art representing Estonia hung on the walls and repurposed wood finishes and furniture create an inviting, homey atmosphere.

My suite included a sofa with a chaise lounge at the end and a small electric fireplace. I spent most of my time in that spot! Hallmark Christmas movies played on the wall mounted tv as I worked on projects, wrote in my journal and dreamed dreams.

Plus I appreciated the kitchenette AND the café downstairs. Both made my stay perfect.

Culture Boutique Hotel suite
Tallinn Suite at Culture Boutique Hotel

Book Your Stay

I loved everything about my stay at Culture Boutique Hotel, located at 445 E. Commercial Street, Springfield. The weekend restored me, allowed me important downtime and a chance to experience new things, which is always a bonus for me.

Watch for my post next week on C-Street and fun things to do there.

Whether you are traveling through the area and want a unique place to stay…or live in the Springfield/Joplin/NW Arkansas area and desire a couples, solo or mother/daughter weekend, consider Culture Boutique Hotel! Cookie cutter hotel rooms are plentiful. Unique, historical places with heart and soul impart more than comfort. I felt supported and inspired, both creatively, physically and spiritually. I lay in bed each night, wondering about the people who lived and worked here, in the building and the community. The experience fired up my imagination, my curiosity and my compassion.

Are you looking for such a place? Check out Culture’s website HERE for details on reservations, rates and check in/check out times.

I’m looking forward to a return visit. I want to try a new suite, featuring a different city! Perhaps eventually, I experience all six.

On an Adventure
I love going on adventures!

Read More:

My getaway weekend was one of my 64 Wild Things for My 64th Birthday activities. Read more HERE.


Click image to order this walking guidebook of Springfield MO


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.

Decocrated’s Winter Woodland

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 year winds down, I am thoroughly enjoying my favorite time of year. And I love for my home to reflect the joy that I feel with cozy, eclectic décor. I also love to mix things up and try new things, which is one of the reasons I love the Decocrated Subscription boxes so much. They inspire me and sometimes challenge me, in a good way, to think differently about my home and how I decorate it.

The Decocrated Winter Box, on sale now, truly set me on a path of creating some very different vignettes and displays this season.

Check out Decocrated’s Winter Woodland theme and how it’s showing up in my home.

Decocrated's Winter Woodland title meme

Decocrated Winter Box 2021

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

Plus Decocrated members have access to the online Decoshop and add-on boxes that come out around holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, Easter and 4th of July.

The Winter Box 2021 features whimsical woodland themed pieces in light wood tones, metal accents, evergreen textures and bold patterns. Although some of the décor items are seasonal, others may be used throughout the year, which I love.

Many of my Decocrated pieces remain in my home year around. They just move to new places and form fresh vignettes. Take a look at the unboxed items from the winter box below…and then see where they landed in my vignettes.

Decocrated's Winter Woodland unboxed
Decocrated’s Winter Woodland unboxed.

Cozy Corner

The winter box includes TWO pillow covers. Many decocrators requested that boxes include not one but two pillow covers. Decocrated listens! These pillows covers fit a standard size square pillow and they are reversible.

One side features an evergreen print in classic green and white. The other side offers a modern and bold black and white plaid. I adore black and white. These pillows will move around my house all year.

I created a cozy corner on the sofa that includes the green woven throw I received in my first Decocrated box, Winter 2019.

Decocrated's Winter Woodland pillows
Decocrated’s Winter Woodland – TWO reversible pillow covers

Dining Room Shelves

The rest of the Winter 2021 Box landed in my dining room…that is really a decorated room that I walk through daily. I never eat in the dining room!

I have a tall set of shelves in this room that I change with the seasons.

Top Two Shelves

It’s ALL Decocrated on the top shelf. From the Winter 2021 Box:

  • the beautiful wreath that is perfect for a door, a wall or over a mantle
  • the double sided art card that says Happy Holidays on one side and Baby It’s Cold Outside on the other
  • the wood and metal tray that can hold any sort of collection imaginable

The other pieces are the wooden candle holders and colored beads from the Fall 2021 Box, the wooden stack of books and clip frame from Spring 2021 Box, the perpetual calendar from Winter 2020 Box and the trio of ceramic trees from the Winter 2019 Box.

The second shelf houses the vintage nativity set made by Greg’s mother about 70 years ago. I treasure this set. And although it would absolutely break my heart if a piece broke, I can’t bear to keep it packed away out of sight. It’s beautiful and precious and an important component of my holiday décor.

Decocrated's Winter Woodland top shelves
Decocrated’s Winter Woodland – top shelves

Bottom Two Shelves

Lots of Decocrated items adorn the bottom two shelves. The beautiful white and light wood evergreen cut-out art can lean against the wall, as I have done, or hang on one. It’s perfect with the grouping of whimsical woodland animals in light wood tones. The set includes a polar bear, fox and squirrel. All are from the Winter 2021 Box. I found the polar bear candle last year at Big Lots.

The wooden village pieces came in the Winter 2020 Box. I love them grouped together in the wood and wire box shelf that Greg made for me. The star ornament adds the finishing touch.

And on the bottom shelf the wooden snowflake arrived in the Winter 2020 Box while the woven basket came in the Fall 2020 one. I bought the trees table art and the JOY sign at Hobby Lobby last year. As you might guess, I LOVE trees!

Decocrated's Winter Woodland bottom shelves
Decocrated’s Winter Woodland – bottom shelves

A Simplified Christmas

I felt inspired this year to simplify my holiday decorating a bit. For the last three years, rather than purchasing a cut Christmas tree, I’ve used the living Norfolk Pine that I’ve had for many years. It’s big enough to serve as a Christmas tree during the holidays.

I tried something different this year. I grouped the Norfolk Pine and my young Ficus Tree with several other plants…and draped them all with twinkling white lights. Okay, there’s one little fake pine tree in the bunch too! However, I love the way this grouping looks, so much so that I have not added any ornaments…yet.

About half of my decorations remain packed in their boxes. I like the simplified look and honestly, I’m in a very busy season of my life right now. Putting less out means putting less up later! Photo at the end of post.

I also love the vignette atop a vintage dresser that now resides in my living room. Christmas décor doesn’t have to be red, green and white. This vignette features items in black, dark wood tones and natural colors and it draws my eyes over and over. The wood and metal tray comes from the Decocrated Winter 2019 Box, the clock from Summer 2021 and the Crescent Moon mirror from the Fall 2021 Box.

The Crescent Moon Wood Art is from True Stock Studios.

Decocrated's Winter Woodland moon
Decocrated’s Winter Woodland – a classy vingette

Is Your House Decorated for the Season?

Are you in the holiday mood? Does your house feature more Christmas décor or more winter items?

Would you like to be a Decocrator too?

Grab your Winter 2021 Box! Click this LINK and then at check out, use my code CINDYM15 to save $15 off your seasonal box. Or subscribe for a year of fun, using the same code.

I’d love to know what your decorating style is and if you change your décor with the seasons. Share in the comments below.

Decocrated's Winter Woodland simple
Simple grouping of plants for my Christmas “tree” this year.

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





Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland

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While I dearly love Edinburgh, Scotland, there are so many beautiful cities, villages and areas in the country to visit. I haven’t covered every square mile of Scotland during my travels there. However, I have explored from the Borders in the south to the wild Scottish Highlands in the north.

One town that immediately snagged my heart is Pitlochry. My cousins and I enjoyed an afternoon in this charming Victorian town in 2014. We loved our time there.

If you wonder why you should visit Pitlochry Scotland, read on!

Pitlochry Scotland

This town of 3000 people sits right in the middle of the country, at the gateway to the Highlands.

Pitlochry developed into a popular tourist stop after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the area in 1842 and bought a highland estate at Balmoral. The arrival of the railway in 1863 contributed to its popularity as well. The quaint town continues as a tourist destination today and is known for the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, salmon ladder and as a location for hillwalking.

Pitlochry is also famous for its plants and flowers that are evident throughout the town.

Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland downtown
Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland – Victorian town

Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland

Check out these reasons for spending a day…or a week…in beautiful Pitlochry.

*Note…I visited this area just as I began my blogging journey. I did NOT take enough photos at that time, unfortunately.

The Town Oozes Charm

Always my favorite way to explore, walking the streets of Pitlochry is a wonderful way to get to know the town. Small shops and restaurants line the streets. Victorian houses share space with stone buildings. And in every small patch of ground and hanging basket flowers bloom.

I was delighted with everything I saw. My cousin Mindy remarked that Pitlochry is the “Eureka Springs of Scotland”, referring to the equally charming town in Arkansas.

We found a lovely tea house, Mackenzie’s, for afternoon tea.

Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland afternoon tea
Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland – afternoon tea

Take In the Queen’s View

Named after Queen Victoria, The Queen’s View overlooks Loch Tummel and part of Tay Forest Park. There are many hiking trails in the area. And a visitor center with a cafe at the peak for refreshments after the three mile walk to the View.

One of the Oldest Distilleries in Scotland is Here

Explore Blair Athol Distillery, one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. Located at the foothills of the Grampian Mountains, Blair Athol’s ancient source of water – the Allt Dour – contributes to the whisky’s mellow and smooth finish. Take a tour, enjoying an educational guided walk through the distillery, as well a delicious dram of Blair Athol Single Malt Whisky.

Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland
Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland – flowers everywhere

There’s an Enchanted Forest Event Every October

Faskally Wood, within the Tay Forest Park, is home to a wide range of tree species, some more than 200 years old. It also hosts the popular Enchanted Forest event  in October each year.

This multi-award winning show combines creative talents and nature to create an outdoor experience that ignites the imagination.

Amid dazzling visuals and an original musical score, visitors experience a light show that is out of this world.

Learn About Plants at the Explorer’s Garden

At the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, learn the stories of the brave men who risked their lives travelling the globe to find new plants and trees for cultivation and conservation. Tour the gardens, visit the exhibition that celebrates Modern Scottish Plant Hunters, or participate in workshops including Scottish Gin Tasting, Tea Tasting and How to Grow a Meconopsis.

Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland plants
Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland – learn about plants

You Can Explore the Atholl Palace Museum

Located in the former servant’s wing, the Atholl Palace Museum leads visitors through the colorful history of the Atholl Palace Hotel,  from its opening in 1878 to reopening after World War II. Discover intriguing tales, learn about Victorian history, and explore audio dramas, short films, a games area that brings this fascinating place to life.

See Black Spout Wood Waterfall

if you love the energy of waterfalls, don’t miss this one. Walk south from Pitlochry town center through the Black Spout Wood to a platform that offers spectacular views of the falls.

Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland woods
Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland – woods and mountains surrounding Pitlochry

Visit the Home of Scotland’s Most Awarded Chocolatier

Experience the unique flavor combinations of the international award-winning Velvet Truffles by Iain Burnett, the Highland Chocolatier.

Enjoy a gourmet tasting flight of five chocolates, experience the delights in the Chocolate Lounge and end the visit with a stop by the gift shop.

Watch Salmon Jump Up Specially Built Ladders

Pitlochry Hydroelectric Dam is close to the town center. Because it blocks the River Tummel…and the salmon who swim upstream to breed…a series of 37 constructed pools create a ladder for the fish to leap into. Once they reach the top pool they are able to continue upstream .

There’s also a visitor center and cafe on site at the dam.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is a Unique Phenomenon

The mission of Pitlochry Festival Theatre is to bring Pitlochry to the world and the world to Pitlochry.

The theatre accomplishes this by creating performances that excite, engage and challenge. It seeks to inspire imagination, adventure and a sense of belonging and to nurture an environment in which the performers, audiences and the community can connect and grow together.

During the summer season the theatre performs six shows, all of which are played in daily rotation. That means attendees can see a different show every day.

Visit Pitlochry

Have I convinced you to visit this beautiful little town, the next time you are in Scotland? I’ve convinced myself! I look forward to a return visit and further explorations during an extended stay.

Have you visited Pitlochry, Scotland?

Why You Should Visit Pitlochry Scotland house


Scottish Finds from Amazon:

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