Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals

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What a joy, recently, to take a road trip to northern Georgia.

Greg and I loved our destination, the beautiful mountain town of Blue Ridge. And we loved and appreciated our luxurious cabin.

As guests of Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals we got to explore all that the area has to offer AND experience several days of downtime and restoration in the gorgeous Breakaway Ridge Cabin.

I’m excited to introduce you to Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals and their premiere guest services.

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals title

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals Story

The company founders, the Stam Family, spent years vacationing in the North Georgia Mountains. They enjoyed their experiences there so much that in 1999 the Stams purchased two luxurious cabins in the Mountain Tops community, in Blue Ridge.

After transforming those cabins into vacation rentals, the family felt inspired to connect others to vacation cabin owners in the area. They wanted friends and family to experience the joy of a cabin vacation in the mountains.

Today, more than 20 years later, the company’s ongoing mission is to welcome guests to Blue Ridge, offer exceptional vacations and provide the highest value accommodations possible.

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals outdoor room
This view from a Southern Comfort Cabin outdoor room is indeed inspiring!

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals – Breakaway Ridge Cabin

After driving 700+ miles through five states, we arrived at Breakaway Ridge Cabin just as darkness settled over the Blue Ridge area. From out vantage point high on a mountain, we caught the last of the sun’s rays as we unloaded the car and entered the cabin.

Even in the gathering shadows, we could appreciate the beauty of our accommodations. And stepping out onto the back deck, with views across a deep, dark valley to the tree studded mountains beyond, was magical.

I live in the Midwest, with rolling hills and flat, expansive land that was formerly prairie. The mountains inspire awe with their magnificence and at the same time, bring a centered sense of tranquility.

Take a tour with me, of Breakaway Ridge Cabin.

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals first peek
First peek at the mountains from the cabin’s back deck.

Tour of the Cabin

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals offers almost 200 vacation properties in the Blue Ridge area. There’s a perfect accommodation for every need and budget, including mountain views, lake views, creek and river views, luxury cabins, forest homes, wheelchair accessible accommodations, downtown Blue Ridge locations, pet friendly, accommodations for large groups and private pool homes.

Given a list of possibilities for our stay, I selected a mountain view cabin. With its mountain top location, just minutes from Blue Ridge’s shops and restaurants, this accommodation combined the best of nature and small town fun.

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals breakaway ridge cabin
Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals – Breakaway Ridge Cabin exterior

Main Living Area – Entry Level

Breakaway Ridge Cabin features five sleeping areas, three full bathrooms and two living areas, over two floors, with a full kitchen upstairs and a mini kitchen in the basement.  There’s room here for up to 10 guests.

On the entry level, you walk into a gorgeous kitchen with stainless steel appliances. A kitchen is important to me. It allows me to create my own healthy meals.

In this space there is an eat at bar with bar stools plus a large wooden dining table with chairs and a bench.

Adjoining the spacious kitchen is the upstairs living area, with vaulted ceilings and a wood burning fireplace. A large screen tv rests above the fireplace. With so many things to do in Blue Ridge and the surrounding area, plus those incredible views from the cabin, we barely turned the television on.

The far end of the living room is all glass, with doors leading out onto the deck. There you can enjoy the outdoor living room with the fireplace, dine at the table and chairs set or rock in one of the two rocking chairs and simply enjoy the mountain air.

Full kitchen with all you need to prepare meals.
Full kitchen with all the cookware, dinnerware and utensils you need to prepare meals.
Upstairs living area
Upstairs living area with wood burning fireplace.
Nothing to obstruct the view
Just look at the view from the living room!

Bedrooms and Bathrooms – Entry Level

On either side of the living area are the entry level bedrooms, each with a king size bed and a full bath.

Bedroom one has a private en suite bathroom with a huge walk in shower complete with a waterfall shower head. The walk in closet is massive with plenty of hangers for clothes and shelves to stash luggage.

There’s a large screen tv here AND views of the mountains from the windows in the room. One of my favorite things was to get up early each morning, open the blinds and lie back in bed, watching the sky lighten with the rising of the sun.

Bedroom two’s large bathroom has a door into the living room as well, for guest use. And the walk in closet in that room contains a full size washer and dryer plus an ironing board and iron. This bedroom also offers a large screen tv and the attention grabbing views from the windows.

All bathrooms contain complimentary toiletries and have a blow dryer available. Towels and washcloths are provided too.

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals primary bedroom
Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals – primary bedroom Breakaway Ridge Cabin
Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals primary bathroom
Primary bedroom bath with huge walk in shower
Bedroom two
Bedroom two

Living Area – Lower Level

Through a doorway off of the dining area, stairs lead to the lower level.

The second living area features a gas log fireplace, a large screen tv, comfy sofas and chairs and a game table. There’s a shuffle board table set up and a variety of games and jigsaw puzzles stored on open shelving. Large windows not only let in ample light, they provide views of the mountains.

A mini kitchen makes it easy to keep cold drinks handy or fix a cup of coffee.

A door leads out to the covered patio. There one can soak in a hot tub, swing on porch swings, have a casual meal at the picnic table or build a fire in the fire pit. You can also play a competitive game of Corn Hole.

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals lower level living area
Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals – lower level living area
Picnic table for outdoor dining
Picnic table for outdoor dining.

Bedrooms and Bathroom – Lower Level

At the foot of the stairs is a small room with a set of bunk beds. Although not a full sized bedroom, this space works well for a couple of children or teens.

On either side of the living area/game room are bedrooms.

One contains a queen size bed and shares the attached downstairs bath with others on the lower level.

The other bedroom is perfect for children or teens with a bunk bed containing a full size mattress below and a twin size mattress above.

Both bedrooms have windows looking out toward the mountains.

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals bunk beds
Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals – bunk beds on lower level
Third bedroom
Third bedroom on lower level.

Plan Your Vacation to the Mountains

Are you ready for a mountain getaway?

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals is offering TWO specials.

Plan a Mother’s Day weekend and get 25% off of your booking. Or book a three night stay before May 31 and receive a fourth night for free! Click this link for the specials.

And enjoy browsing through all the vacation rental options at the Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals website. If you’d appreciate the Breakaway Ridge Cabin as much as I did, you can book it HERE. (I highly recommend that you do!)

My introduction to the Blue Ridge, Georgia area was so beautiful, relaxing and fun. I look forward to a return visit.

If you’d like to know more, watch for my next post with the special things about Breakaway Ridge Cabin that I especially enjoyed, followed by a post about all the fun things to experience in the Blue Ridge area.

If you need any help planning a trip to the mountains, send me a message!

Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals back view


Pick up this backpack. It’s perfect for a hike in the Georgia forests.



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The Shop on Royal Street

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

If you’ve read my series of posts on Charleston, South Carolina, you know that my trip there last September was inspired by the Tradd Street books by Karen White. (Read my spoiler free review of that series HERE.)

I love those stories set in the Holy City and the fun, eclectic cast of characters. How grateful I am that Karen is creating a spin off series, featuring one of the characters from Tradd Street. The first book just released and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Check out my spoiler free review of The Shop on Royal Street.

The Shop on Royal Street title meme

Author Karen White

Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 31 books…and counting. She lived in London, England as a child, however she now resides near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. They have two grown children.

According to her website, Karen grew up in a house full of brothers. She came to appreciate strong female characters in the third grade, after reading the Nancy Drew Mystery, The Secret of the Old Clock.

Although she initially pursued a career in business, she wrote her first book, In the Shadow of the Moon, in 2000. She is well known for the Tradd Street Series, publishing the seventh…and final…book in that collection last November.

Karen’s roots are in the south, where many of her stories take place. Her charming tales contain a fun mix of drama, mystery, intrigue, romance and sometimes ghosts and hauntings.

The Shop on Royal Street karen white
Karen White, author of The Shop on Royal Street. Photo from her website.

The Shop on Royal Street

In the book The Strangers on Montagu, teenager Nola Trenholm arrives unexpectedly at Melanie’s house on Tradd Street. She surprises Melanie and Jack with the announcement that she is Jack’s daughter. Jumping right into parenthood, Jack and Melanie take the young girl in, giving her a home and helping her cope with the tragedy of her mother’s death.

The Shop on Royal Street takes place ten years later and moves the story, along with Nola, from Charleston to New Orleans.

Nola’s entry into adulthood wasn’t easy. New Orleans offers a chance for a fresh start with a new job and a house in the historic and offbeat Marigny District.

However, after the sensitive young woman purchases her first house, a fixer upper that everyone else avoids, she encounters old ghosts from her past…and new spirits that occupy the space she’s carefully renovating.

There are intriguing mysteries to solve, complex life situations to navigate as a young adult, an old friendship to rekindle and the perplexing Beau Ryan to figure out. That young man attracts Nola and irritates her equally.

And the shop on Royal Street refers to the antique and collectible store that Beau’s grandmother Mimi owns and operates. More mysteries surround the older woman and the shop with the locked room in the back.

New Orleans serves beautifully as the backdrop for this engaging story, with its lively neighborhoods, historic homes and French, African and American cultures.

The Shop on Royal Street sign
The Shop on Royal Street – street sign

What I Love About The Shop on Royal Street

As a fan of the Tradd Street series, I’m so delighted with the launch this new series.

I like knowing who Nola is, having “met” her in the first series and watched her personal growth while living with Melanie and Jack. The references to characters from the Tradd Street series build on that sense of familiarity. It’s also fun to see what’s going on with those characters a decade later and discovering if they are living “happily ever after”.

However, The Shop on Royal Street is very much Nola’s story and I enjoyed seeing how she’s developing as a character and a person. Karen uses humor in her writing and that is evident in this story as well.

And, as with the Tradd Street series, the supernatural plays an important part in the plot. As a sensitive and intuitive myself, I appreciate that thread woven throughout these books. I admit experiencing full body goosebumps a couple of times as I read about Nola’s encounters with spirits. However, the hauntings are well written about, without blood and gore or outlandish “that could never happen” extremes. Karen expertly portrays ghostly situations and hauntings that are very believable…and in my own experiences, entirely possible.

The Shop on Royal Street candle
A fun book to read, while sipping on hot tea.

New Orleans

Although I’ve had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans, my explorations there focused primarily on the French Quarter District.

New Orleans is one of the 15 cities on my Adventure List. Reading Karen’s newest book amplifies the longing to visit New Orleans again and explore other districts in the city such as Marigny, which lies adjacent to the French Quarter.

I love the way Karen writes about her book locations. She wonderfully captures the spirit…and sometimes spirits…of the community, weaving in vivid  and accurate details that make it easy to imagine the flow of events.

If you enjoy reading a good story set in a gorgeous city with lovable, quirky characters, mysteries to solve and things that go bump in the night, I highly recommend The Shop on Royal Street. While this story can stand alone, I’d suggest reading the Tradd Street series as well. Doing so adds depth and context. You’ll thank me later!

Have you recently read a book that inspires adventures? Share it with me in the comments below.

The Shop on Royal Street book



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.


Tradd Street Series

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

Author Karen White inspired my recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina. Her Tradd Street Series, set in that charming city, delighted me and birthed a curiosity to explore Charleston myself.

That’s the power of a well written book…or seven. They transport the reader to another place, another time, another culture. Karen’s books enchanted me. And I transported myself to the actual city, in early September.

There really is a Tradd Street in Charleston. I wandered down it several times. And many of the buildings and locations she mentions in her books are there too. What fun to explore a new to me city, that also felt so familiar.

Check out my mini reviews of each of the seven books in the Tradd Street series. Perhaps you will feel inspired to read them…and explore Charleston too.

Tradd Street Series title meme

Meet Author Karen White

Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 29 books…and counting. She lived in London, England as a child, however she now lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. They have two grown children.

According to her website, Karen grew up in a house full of brothers. She came to appreciate strong female characters in the third grade, when she read her first Nancy Drew Mystery…The Secret of the Old Clock.

Although she initially pursued a career in business, she wrote her first book, In the Shadow of the Moon, in 2000. She is well known for her Tradd Street Series, publishing the seventh book in that collection in early November.

Karen’s roots are in the south, where many of her stories take place. Her charming stories contain a fun mix of drama, mystery, intrigue, romance and sometimes ghosts.

Tradd Street Series Karen White
Tradd Street Series author Karen White. Photo from her website.

The Tradd Street Series

Following is a brief, spoiler free overview of each of the books in the Tradd Street Series, in the order of publish date.

The story is ongoing, flowing from book to book. Therefore, it is important to read the books in order. I picked up my first Tradd Street book from the library last spring, after my mother read the back cover aloud to me. Not realizing a series existed, it happened to be book three, The Strangers on Montagu Street. I took it home and quickly realized I’d jumped into the middle of a story. Research revealed six books in a series…with a seventh due out in November.

Finding the first book, I devoured it and my mother and I both read through the whole series.

Here they are. Click on photos of books for more info or to order.

Book One The House on Tradd Street

Set in Charleston, this first book introduces the characters. We meet practical and extremely organized Melanie Middleton, a realtor who specializes in historic houses. This realtor though possesses a unique gift. She sees, hears and senses ghosts. And in a town full of historic events and locations like Charleston, that means she sees spirits everywhere.

To her great surprise, Melanie inherits a historic house on Tradd Street. The old house comes with a housekeeper, a dog, a number of restoration projects…and ghosts. There’s an old mystery to unravel, a family of spirits and a disappearance to solve.

Other characters introduced in The House on Tradd Street include Jack Trenholm, an attractive, charismatic writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries, Melanie’s father, a recovering alcoholic, and an eclectic assortment of friends.

Book Two The Girl on Legare Street

As Melanie renovates the old house she inherited, her life gets disrupted by the return of her estranged mother. Ginette Prioleau Middleton left Charleston 35 years ago, leaving Melanie’s father to raise their daughter.

After purchasing back the family home on Legare Street, Ginnette and Melanie seek to rebuild their relationship while combating a vengeful spirit residing in the house. Melanie, Ginette and Jack uncover dark secrets in their attempt to restore a family.

Book Three The Strangers on Montagu Street

This book introduces a new character, a teenaged girl named Nola. The girl turns out to be the daughter of Jack Trenholm, Melanie’s partner in solving mysteries and her love interest. Jack is as surprised as everyone else to discover he has a daughter.

Nola arrives with only a few possessions, after the death of her mother in California. However, she doesn’t arrive unaccompanied. An old dollhouse, occupied by more than toys, and a spirit that arrived with Nola vie for the girl’s attention and create havoc in Melanie’s life and house on Tradd Street.

Book Four Return to Tradd Street

Melanie and Jack’s relationship is as complicated as the house on Tradd Street. When Melanie discovers she’s pregnant, she determines to create a home for her and Jack’s child and embrace the role of single mother.

Tradd Street house has other plans. The wails of a ghost child will not allow Melanie to sleep at night. A shocking discovery at the house, during the extensive renovations, changes everything and launches Melanie deep into the house’s history and a tale of love, loss and betrayal.

Book Five The Guests on South Battery

Book five introduces new character Jayne, who seeks out Melanie’s services as a realtor. Jayne is eager to sell an old house on South Battery that she recently inherited.

Jayne is shrouded in mystery and strangely, seems to possess abilities similar to Melanie’s. A creepy doll and a malevolent spirit in Jayne’s house reveal secrets that refuse to remain buried.

Book Six The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street

The excavation of an old cistern, uncovered in the backyard of the house on Tradd Street, stirs up spirits from the past. The ghosts invade the house. Plus a persistent rumor that a long lost Revolutionary War treasure is buried on the property creates more problems.

Melanie and Jack once again join forces to solve a centuries old mystery before it destroys their lives and all that they hold dear.

Book Seven The Attic on Queen Street

In this last book in the Tradd Street Series, Melanie struggles with devastating changes in her life. As she and Jack comes to terms with those changes, a longtime nemesis steps in to seemingly offer a solution. Is all what it appears to be though?

While the house seems to develop a personality of its own, a friend asks Melanie for help in solving the decades old murder of her sister. The attic on Queen Street seems to hold the answers along with a less than friendly spirit who does not want the murder investigated.

My Thoughts about the Tradd Street Series

I love this series. Here’s why.

I identify strongly with Melanie’s character. She’s a psychic realtor…and so am I. She shows and sells old houses, in spite of her fears and her abilities to see, hear and sense ghosts. I do that too. It is helpful to me, on a deep level, to read about Melanie’s experiences and compare them to mine. Her growing courage and acceptance of her gifts mirrors my journey.

I appreciate the realistic way that Karen White portrays the supernatural, so much so that we exchanged emails and I had the opportunity to ask if she has intuitive abilities as well. She does not…at least not to the extant that her character Melanie does…but she’s always pursued an interest in ghosts and hauntings.

The series is fun to read, with passages that deliver some scary moments. It’s NOT full of blood and gore however. The books would translate wonderfully into a Netflix series! Fingers crossed.

Karen deeply loves the location and it shows in the way she features the city. Her beautiful ability to capture Charleston created a longing in me to explore the places she writes about.

The stories are uplifting, encouraging and thought provoking. By the end of the last book I felt like I’d acquired dear friends…or new family members.

Tradd Street Series corner of Tradd and Meeting
The corner of Tradd and Meeting Streets. Imagine my joy.

Pick Up Your Ticket to Charleston

Even if you don’t have Charleston on your travel list, you will enjoy this series. The books are extremely entertaining and hard to put down once you begin reading.

I love seeing new places, through the pages of a book. Charleston came alive for me, as I read about Melanie and Jack’s adventures. I hated to see the series come to an end. I’m SO grateful Karen is crafting a new series, set in New Orleans. It features Nola from the Tradd Street books as the primary character. That means, hopefully, Melanie, Jack and some of the others show up in future books. I can’t wait to dig into The Shop on Royal Street next spring.

You can check your local library for Karen’s series and other books…they are all good…or you can purchase them at your local bookstore or order them via the links in this post. Start with The House on Tradd Street. As we head into winter, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a cup of hot tea and an excellent book…or seven.

And please, let me know what you think!

Tradd Street Series 62 Tradd
In case you are wondering, there isn’t a 55 Tradd Street, like in the book. This one, at 62 Tradd is close to the location in the book. I just read today that the house at 125 Tradd Street inspired the one in the book.


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.

Lasagna Gardening

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

Lasagna gardening. Have you heard of it?

I hadn’t…until last spring when the practice came into my awareness. I tucked the idea away, until now. As colder temperatures bring an end to my gardens, it’s time to prep them for a long winter’s sleep.

Therefore, it’s the perfect time to try this new-to-me gardening technique.

I won’t be able to tell you the final results, until next spring. However, here’s what I learned about lasagna gardening.

Lasagna Gardening title meme

What is Lasagna Gardening?

This technique has less to do with growing veggies or flowers, and more to do with creating an optimal place for plants to thrive.

Also called layered gardening or sheet gardening, lasagna gardening is the process of layering organic materials to decompose in a gardening spot.

This no till, no dig technique is easy to do and requires almost no maintenance. Once the layers are in place, nature takes over. It’s a wonderful way to compost in your actual garden space, rather than creating and using a separate composting bin or pile.

Why Use Lasagna Gardening?

Creating layers of materials provides the ideal environment for beneficial organisms to do what they are designed to do. The layers lock in soil enriching nutrients and keep weeds away, naturally, without the use of chemicals.

Like using a compost pile, lasagna gardening recycles biodegradable materials such as newspaper and cardboard. And it’s a great way to make use of organic waste such as dried leaves, twigs, plant and grass trimmings and food scraps.

And finally, this form of gardening reduces the amount of trash that goes into landfills, making it eco-friendly.

Lasagna gardening does take time to work. The layers need to break down and become rich soil. Fall is the perfect time to try this technique so that by spring the area is ready to plant.

Lasagna Gardening leaves
Lasagna Gardening – raking up leaves to use

Prepping for Lasagna Gardening

Before creating your layers, pick a  garden spot.

I have a raised garden bed that I use for veggies. The 4X8 size is perfect for this type of gardening. Pick an area that is similar in size. You don’t have to remove the grass first, dig it up or till it. Make sure the spot you pick receives at least six hours of sunlight a day. The layers need to “cook”.

You’ll need material for green nitrogen layers and brown carbon layers. Below are ideas for both:

Green Nitrogen Layer

  • coffee grounds
  • tea bags
  • compostable kitchen scraps
  • grass clippings
  • weeds
  • garden clippings and prunings
  • manure

Brown Carbon Layer

  • black and white newspapers
  • cardboard
  • sawdust
  • dry leaves
  • wood chips
  • sticks and twigs
  • straw

Water Source

You’ll water thoroughly between each layer. Have a water hose nearby.

Lasagna Gardening first layer
Lasagna Gardening – first layer…brown carbon

Creating the Lasagna Garden

Having already chosen my raised bed to try this technique, I first prepped the area. Tomato plants flourished still in the space. I picked the last of the tomatoes…all green…and pulled up the plants. I roughly chopped these up, to use as a layer in the garden.

First Layer: Brown Carbon

The first layer is a carbon one. Lay down newspaper, cardboard or wood chips. Because I used several inches of mulch this year in my raised bed, I removed any weeds poking through and smoothed out the mulch as my first layer.

Water layer thoroughly.

Second Layer: Brown Carbon

A second carbon layer goes on top of the first one. Use whatever you have on hand…twigs and small branches, cardboard or paper. I added a single layer of cardboard, making sure packing tape was removed. And I tossed some twigs and small branches in there too.

Water this layer thoroughly.

Lasagna Gardening second layer
Second layer – cardboard

Third Layer: Green Nitrogen

Next add a green nitrogen layer. This includes kitchen scraps, compost, manure, grass and plant clippings or weeds. Don’t use plants or weeds with seed heads attached or you are planting those in an area you may not want them in.

I used the chopped up tomato plants I had just pulled up mixed with kitchen scraps and plant clippings. I collect veggie and fruit scraps daily as I prepare meals. When the large plastic bowl is full, it gets dumped into my compost bin. Today I shoveled out the scraps in the compost bin and moved them to the raised bed.

Water layer thoroughly.

Lasagna Gardening third and fourth layers
Third layer – green nitrogen

Fourth Layer: Brown Carbon

For this layer, use dry leaves or straw if possible. With fall, it’s the ideal time to rake up leaves as they fall from the trees and add them to the lasagna garden.

Create a nice, deep layer of dry leaves or straw, approximately eight to ten inches. I raked up leaves from my Redbud trees, while Greg used a leaf blower to move them my way. On top of the leaves I placed two sheets of very thin cardboard saved from earlier in the year, just for this purpose.

Water this layer as well, very thoroughly. The moisture is important as it helps break down the materials.

Lasagna Gardening leaves
Fourth layer – leaves or straw

Final Layer: Tarp

If desired, cover the layers with a tarp, weighted down on the corners. This speeds up the decomposing process, while helping the bed hold moisture and create heat. You can also use a weed barrier, like this one.

If you don’t have a tarp, consider adding a layer of mulch over the leaves, to help contain them and trap moisture in the layers.

And that’s it! Allow the layers to “cook” all winter, until it’s time to plant next spring. If winter months are very dry, deeply water layers occasionally.

Final layer
Lasagna Gardening – final layer…a tarp

Lasagna Gardening Tips

Fall is the best time to try this technique. A few tips to make the process super easy.

Collect cardboard, newspapers and paper all year, for your garden spot. Similarly, create an outdoor space to stack twigs and small branches.

Start a compost bin, if you don’t have one already. Even if scraps break down, add compost as a layer. Make it a habit to save all veggie and fruit scraps and add meal leftovers rather than tossing them out of the fridge and into the trash.

Save plant cuttings and prunings from flower beds and grass clippings too if you catch those in a bag while mowing.

If you don’t have trees in your yard, ask a neighbor if you can rake her leaves and bag them in large leaf bags. Or visit a park with trees and collect leaves there. Purchase bales of straw at your local garden center.

And ask family members and friends to save kitchen scraps for you, if you don’t have enough.

I enjoyed trying this technique today! Last spring I emptied out a compost bin, moving the rich soil to the raised bed. Next spring, the rich soil will already be there, just in time for planting season.

Have you tried lasagna gardening?

Praying Mantis
My little helper today

Other Helpful Gardening Posts:

Ecological Garden Hacks

Plant in Fall for Spring Color

Fall Checklist for the Garden

Gardening Helps 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 Happy Inbox

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

Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me The Happy Inbox book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

October was National Book Month. I shared the five books I’m currently reading in this post. Each book appeals to me, for different reasons.

The Happy Inbox, by Maura Nevel Thomas, showed up in my email…and my life…at the perfect time. I admit, I am overwhelmed by the number of emails that flow…and flow…and flow…into my inbox.

Between three email accounts, I received hundreds of emails a day. If I neglect dealing with them for even a couple of days, they seemed to magically multiple, in an explosive way. And then I don’t even want to mess with them.

That’s NOT a good system.

I appreciate The Happy Inbox and the difference it’s making in the way I think about managing emails.

The Happy Inbox title meme

The Empowered Productivity Series

The Happy Inbox is actually book three in the Empowered Productivity Series. Book one is Attention Management: How to Create Success and Gain Productivity—Every Day. And the second book in the series is From To-Do to Done: How to Go from Busy to Productive by Mastering Your To-Do List.

Together these books lay a path to peak productivity. They help the reader achieve results that are most significant, both personally and professionally.

Maura developed the Empowered Productivity System in 2012 after many years of successfully helping her clients. In the past decade, working with some of the world’s most influential leaders and brands, she has reimagined the system, incorporating input and feedback from more than 40,000 professionals.

In short, Maura knows about productivity and freeing others to live extraordinary lives. Her desire is to see more people able to bring their unique gifts to the world in a way that inspires, motivates and excites rather than exhausts, overwhelms and stresses.

The Happy Inbox pumpkin
The Happy Inbox – one of my fall reading books.

The Happy Inbox

This book is easy to read in an afternoon. However, it is PACKED with helpful information for managing communication, not just temporarily but forever.

The book contains five chapters plus an introduction and a conclusion.


Maura points out, correctly, that today managing communication is huge. We are constantly receiving pings…those notifications from emails, texts, phone calls and social media. Truly, it never stops. And those pings are a distraction, causing us to continually switch tasks.

The book offers help in these ways:

  • reduces stress caused by digital and paper clutter
  • minimizes the amount of communication sent and received
  • retrieves important info quickly
  • collaborate with others more effectively

Chapter One: Getting Your Email Under Control

Maura starts here, for good reason. Emails, too many of them, too many unimportant ones, fill our inboxes, creating stress.

There’s no instant fix for overflowing inboxes. However, this chapter and the rest of the book provide the steps for tackling the overabundance of emails and then setting up systems for managing them.

Chapter Two: Being Reactive Vs Being Responsive

In this chapter we learn the things we shouldn’t do with email. There are common tactics we all use to make us feel like we are dealing effectively…and responsively…with emails. However, they are actually counterproductive.

Chapter Three: Processing Email – Done for Now

Maura offers tips in this section for processing emails, dealing with each message so that it’s not hanging around as an unknown. This involves sorting in a variety of helpful ways to help identify what’s there and act in an efficient way. The goal is to move messages out of the inbox.

The TESST process applies to every email:

  • Take immediate action
  • Empower others and yourself (delegate)
  • Suspend to task list, to take required action later
  • Store for future reference
  • Trash it

Chapter Four: If You Need a Fresh Start

The previous chapters supply tools and tips for managing emails. This chapter discusses strategies for dealing with a backlog of thousands or tens of thousands of emails.

There are also helpful suggestions in this chapter for creating better emails. And there’s a section as well on managing other forms of communication.

Chapter Five: Meeting Management

This segment deals with handling meetings, if that is part of your workday.


Maura concludes with key takeaways from the book and positive action steps.

The Happy Inbox emails
The Happy Inbox – see the number of emails??

My Experience with The Happy Inbox

Take a look at the screenshot above. See the email icon? It shows 27,485 emails clogging my inbox. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said this book showed up at the right time.

As Maura points out in the book, managing emails is not a quick fix. However, it IS doable, one step at a time. I am appreciating this book very much as I implement the systems and more than that, recognize why I allow emails to pile up.

In Chapter One Maura writes:

“Your inbox is for receiving messages, not storing them.”

That statement was my first big AHA! I use my inbox to store messages, requiring me to wade through unimportant emails to find, again and again, the important ones. It’s not an effective way to manage communications. I know that. Yet, it feels so overwhelming, dealing with the backlog.

I’m taking action. And I’m learning to implement the systems. It’s not a quick turn around. However, I feel like I’m making progress and streamlining communication.

The number of emails is huge. But that number is smaller than it was a week ago! Step by step, I’m whittling them down.

Get Your Copy of The Happy Inbox

Is your inbox full, like mine? Would you love to manage your communications more effectively? And best of all, would you like to reduce the stress that accompanies a backlog of emails and notifications?

Pick up The Happy Inbox by clicking this link. Or check out all three books in the Empowered Productivity Series, via the Amazon links below.

In the comments below, tell me your numbers. How many emails are currently in your inbox? Can anyone beat my 27,000+? I look forward to sharing, in the near future, a big fat zero for number of emails sitting in my inbox.

The Happy Inbox book


Amazon Links for the Empowered Productivity Series





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.





What I’m Reading Currently and Why

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

October is National Book Month, giving readers everywhere the perfect excuse to curl up with a good book…or two or five! There’s something about the coziness of fall that invites a cup of hot tea and a good book, right?

Reading is one of the best things you can do to boost mental health. It stimulates the brain and reduces stress. Plus reading regularly improves vocabulary, spelling and memory. It’s a way to explore, without leaving your home, and a gateway to new places and ideas. Reading opens the heart and mind, educates and inspires. And finally, reading is a fun form of entertainment.

For National Book Month, here’s what I’m reading currently and why.

What I'm Reading Currently and Why title meme

What I’m Reading Currently and Why

I have five books on the table next to my chair. One I’ve taken my time reading this year. Another I’m reading for the second time. The hefty volume from Anthony William is an excellent resource for health. I completed Steve’s book for writers  this month, however it’s such a great read that I’m keeping it nearby. And the last one in the stack I received in the mail over the weekend. I just started reading it.

Four of this month’s books are nonfiction while one is fictional, set in Charleston, South Carolina.

Below is a brief synopsis of each book…and why it’s on my Currently Reading List.

Women Who Run With the Wolves

This deeply spiritual book, written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, is a must for any woman who wants to connect more profoundly with herself.

Within every woman lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman who represents the instinctual nature of women.

Dr. Estes combines intercultural myths, fairy tales and stories to help women connect with the fierce, healthy, visionary aspects of self.

Why I’m Reading Women Who Run With the Wolves

This is my Year of the Wild Woman and what a great book to accompany me through 2021. It’s a deep read, stirring many thoughts and emotions in me, thus the slow journey through the book. I underline passages and take notes. I’m learning to unleash my inner wild woman and Clarissa’s book is the perfect guide for that desire.

Purchase Women Who Run With the Wolves HERE.

What I'm Reading Currently and Why wolves
What I’m Reading Currently and Why – Women Who Run With the Wolves

Write Like You Mean It

Author Steve Gamel offers keys to achieving writing success. Subtitled Mastering Your Passion for the Written Word, Steve shares stories from his own long writing career along with trade secrets, techniques and writing lessons for stronger content.

This incredibly helpful book covers the entire writing process, from the desire to write to organization to editing and publishing. Write Like You Mean It is perfect for aspiring or experienced writers, in all genres including blogging.

Read a more in depth review of the book HERE.

Why I Read Write Like You Mean It

This book was gifted to me by the publishers. However, I am asked daily to review books. I turn most of those requests down because I just don’t have time to do that many reviews. Occasionally though, a book so catches my interest that I agree. I am so grateful that I did for this book.

I love Steve’s conversational writing style. And his experiences in writing inspire me to keep improving what I create, day by day. This is a book I’ll re-read and refer to frequently.

Purchase Write Like You Mean It HERE.

What I'm Reading Currently and Why mean it
What I’m Reading Currently and Why – Write Like You Mean It

The House on Tradd Street

Author Karen White creates a thrilling…and spooky…mystery in this first book in a series of seven. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, the story follows an intriguing cast of characters, including Melanie Middleton, a realtor who sees ghosts.

Melanie specializes in the sale of historic homes. However, those old homes contain spirits that only she can see and hear. When an elderly man dies, and leaves Melanie his historic Tradd Street house, she discovers resident ghosts with secrets to reveal. With the help of writer Jack Trenholm, Melanie unravels a mystery of passion, heartbreak and murder.

Why I am Re-Reading The House on Tradd Street

The Tradd Street series inspired me to visit Charleston, to see the places that Karen so beautifully describes in the books. Since my return, I’m enjoying reading back through book one. It’s fun to recognize places such as Broad Street and the City Market and to clearly imagine Tradd Street after walking down that narrow lane several times.

The final book in the series, The Attic on Queen Street, releases in a couple of weeks. I’m excited to visit Charleston again, through this continuing story. After I finish book seven, I’ll write a review of the series.

Additionally, I relate to the character Melanie. She’s a psychic realtor who, in spite of her abilities, shows old houses and pushes beyond the fear. Sound familiar?

Order The House on Tradd Street HERE.

What I'm Reading Currently and Why tradd street
What I’m Reading Currently and Why – The House on Tradd Street

Cleanse to Heal

This health book in the Medical Medium series, written by Anthony William, offers a wealth of healing information. Pathogens and toxins are the cause of so many of our present day illnesses. Cleansing is a powerful way to nurture and protect the body while eliminating those troublemakers.

Anthony’s guide includes several different types of cleanses, 200 symptoms and conditions and precise supplement dosages to aid in your cleanse. And the oversized book features more than 75 delicious, health boosting recipes and sample menus.

Why I am Reading Cleanse to Heal

Fall is a great time to cleanse the body and boost the immune system. I’m doing the Anti-Bug Cleanse these last two weeks of October. The basics of this cleanse include drinking celery juice every morning, drinking at least 32 ounces of water a day, focusing on fruits and vegetables and avoiding certain foods.

I’m already plant based. During this cleanse I’m strictly avoiding salt, sugar, fats and oils plus vinegar, fermented foods and all grains except gluten free oats. Avoiding these foods while upping my nutritional level allows toxins to leave my blood and starves viruses and bacteria. I intend to enter the winter season, with its greater risk of bugs, as healthy as possible.

Purchase Cleanse to Heal HERE. And check out a more complete review of the book through this link.

What I'm Reading Currently and Why cleanse
What I’m Reading Currently and Why – Cleanse to Heal

The Happy Inbox

This little gem in The Empowered Productivity series, written by Maura Nevel Thomas, comes with the subtitle: How to Have a Stress-Free Relationship with Your Email and Overcome Your Communication Clutter. Did you know that a cluttered inbox creates low level anxiety? That feeling arises from the backlog of emails, that continues to grow, and all those notifications on your apps.

Making peace with the inbox gets rid of the anxiety, increases the ability to retrieve info quickly and allows you to spend less time managing communication and more time working toward goals.

Why I Am Diving in to The Happy Inbox

The request asking me to review this book dropped into my email at the right time! I feel overwhelmed by the daily deluge of communications coming into my inbox. And talk about a backlog of emails. I currently have more than 20,000.

I said Yes! to reading and offering a review of this book. Plus I feel excited to learn management techniques to get my inbox under control, once and for all. I’ve only begun to read and love this book already. Watch for a full review in a couple of weeks.

Order The Happy Inbox HERE.

What I'm Reading Currently and Why happy inbox
What I’m Reading Currently and Why – The Happy Inbox

Celebrate National Book Month

Fun ways to celebrate this month long event include:

  • read a new book
  • re-read a favorite book
  • visit your local library
  • listen to an audible book
  • write a book review
  • send a letter or an email to a favorite author
  • read out loud to a child or an elderly person
  • organize a book swap
  • start a book club

And share with me what you are currently reading…and why…in the comments below!


What I'm Reading Currently and Why stack


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.

Write Like You Mean It

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

Thank you to Brown Books Publishing for sending me a copy of Write Like You Mean It for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

If author Steve Gamel and I met, I feel like we’d instantly become friends. What would we talk about? Our conversation, peppered with laughter, would highlight the stories of our writing paths and the creative passion that fuels our journeys.

Instead of a chat over a cup of hot tea or coffee, however, what I have is a conversational style book that allows me a peek into Steve’s long and successful career as a writer. Filled with stories, lessons, strategies and tools, Write Like You Mean It is the perfect handbook for the beginner or the experienced writer.

Write Like You Mean It title meme

Meet Steve Gamel

Steve entered college intent on receiving a degree in broadcast journalism. After a professor criticized an article he wrote, with the scathing words, “Have you ever read a newspaper before?”, Steve dedicated himself to mastering the craft of writing.

In the years after college, Steve regularly wrote for such publications as the Dallas Morning News, Allen Publishing, Murray Media Group and his local paper, the Denton Record-Chronicle. Steve continually honed his skills by reading EVERYTHING and writing outside of the sports news genre. If there was a story to tell, any kind of story, he told it. Along the way he collected national, state and local writing awards.

In 2014 Steve founded a writing and editing service called Edit This. With his debut book, Steve desires to connect with other writers and share what he’s learned. The conversations in the book revolve around writing, writers and how we can all master our passion for the written word.

“Write Like You Mean It means putting all your heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into your passion for writing. Our words are our stock in trade. We are craftsmen. We are artists. Furthermore, our audience deserves to see and feel each word we put on a page. I want writers to realize that whatever they’ve written deserves to see the light of day rather than being tucked away on a dusty bedroom shelf somewhere. They need to believe in themselves, and they need to believe in their writing. I think the tools, tips, life hacks, resources, and
examples in this book will help writers from all walks of life write like they mean it.” Steve Gamel

Write Like You Mean It steve
Write Like You Mean It author Steve Gamel

Mastering Your Passion for the Written Word

The book offers a wealth of information, tips and actionable steps, gathered from Steve’s years of experience as a writer. It’s broken into three sections.

Start Writing

This opening section begins at the beginning! With chapters on overcoming fear, developing a writer’s checklist, active voice, tools for the trade and writer’s block, Steve helps us get out of our own way by moving beyond the fear and into the mechanics.

Steve supplies examples of work, illustrating his points, and tips for improving skills. These are helpful for all writers.

Writing to a Purpose

The middle section moves deeper into the world of writing and includes chapters on active listening, research and organization, nonfiction, fiction, storytelling for all styles of writing and freelancing.

I learned early in my journey that purpose connects strongly to my writing. Without purpose, I flounder. This section in the book fired up my heart and challenged me to continue to develop my craft.

Write Like You Mean It to Be Read

The final section of the book includes the important editing process, how to market what you’ve poured your heart and soul into and the different ways of publishing work.

Steve concludes with the perfect list of takeaways from his book:

  • move beyond fears
  • master the active voice and basic mechanics of writing
  • recognize that writer’s block is a teacher
  • stay organized and keep your audience in mind
  • tell stories
  • stay open to feedback and develop a writing community
  • read, read, read
  • write each sentence better than yesterday
  • market yourself and your work
  • celebrate every opportunity for publishing work
Write Like You Mean It computer
Write Like You Mean It – my writing tools. I always have a stack of notebooks nearby.

My Thoughts on Write Like You Mean It

I deeply appreciate this book. Reading it reminded me of my own writing journey.

I knew by the age of eight that I wanted to write. My mom bought me a little typewriter and off I went, crafting stories. My path meandered through toying with a novel, writing children’s stories, creating homeschool curriculum to use with my kids and finally, blogging.

At the end of 2013, I connected a strong purpose to my desire to write…and created my blog, Going Beyond. See my first, makes-me-cringe-now post HERE.

During the last nine years I worked on finding my voice and narrowing my niche. I invested in myself and learned about SEO, finding my audience, improving my writing and marketing through social media. And I moved the blog to a site I can monetize and changed the name slightly. While I still have a toe in real estate…my heart and soul light up when I write. The passion to write burns within me and I not only welcome it, I fan it.

Write Like You Mean It empowers me to become the best writer possible and to focus, really focus, on the nonfiction book I’m “writing on the side”.

Write Like You Mean It cindy
Write Like You Mean It – queen of my writing kingdom

Who Can Benefit from Write Like You Mean It?

Whatever your genre…fiction, poetry, a blog, magazine articles or nonfiction…this book is for you. Aspiring writers, struggling writers and professional writers all benefit from Steve’s expert knowledge, tips and practices.

Plus, he delivers the keys to success in a friendly, down-to-earth style that resonates with the writer within and encourages a higher level of skill.

When you finish the book, you too might feel like you’ve just enjoyed a lively and enlightening conversation with a friend, a writer friend, who wants the very best for you.

How does that sound to you?

Pick up your copy of Write Like You Mean It by clicking this Amazon LINK. Grab a cup of coffee or a hot tea, open the book, and join the conversation.


Write Like You Mean It flatlay


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.


Emancipated Love Junkie

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

Thank you to author Rachel Wilshusen for sending me her book, Emancipated Love Junkie, for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


As a blogger, I get many requests to read and review books. I love to read, however I do not have the time currently to enjoy many books, necessitating the turning down of most requests.

Occasionally, though, an author and book comes along that captivates me or touches me, even before I hold the book in my hands. Rachel Wilshusen is such an author who has written such a book.

The subject of eating disorders is not unfamiliar to me. I understand the importance of offering help to those who feel trapped by their thoughts about and perceptions of food. Rachel’s charming email, writing style and her travels intrigued me. Over the last month I have indeed held her book in my hands and carried it around with me as I read her moving memoir and followed her healing journey. I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Check out this book review for Emancipated Love Junkie.

Emancipated Love Junkie title meme

Meet Rachel Wilshusen

Rachel is a vibrant writer with liberal arts degrees from not one but three universities: University of Pennsylvania, University College London and University of Cambridge.

She’s lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States and also in the midwestern state of Oklahoma. As a young adult she traveled, living and working in Canada, England and China.

During her travels, this talented woman worked as an executive assistant, rock musician, teacher, playwright, and cookie company owner.

However, Rachel hid a secret.

For 20 years, she struggled with eating disorders, including bingeing and anorexia. Emancipated Love Junkie is a beautiful, humorous and oft times painfully honest memoir of the journey that ultimately led to her recovery.

Emancipated Love Junkie rachel
Rachel Wilshusen, author of Emancipated Love Junkie. Photo from her website.

Rachel’s Story

From her early childhood in Arizona to her travels around the world, Rachel details her shifting relationship with food. And beyond that, she shares her deteriorating relationship with herself.

Raised with an appreciation for family, homecooked meals and baked goods, Rachel felt she was a star ascending…if only others could see her the way she envisioned herself. She clung to the bright hope for her future that children instinctively possess, until life began to tarnish her vision.

The family moved frequently, due to her father’s work as an Army doctor. Rachel often felt like an outsider in new schools as she tried desperately to fit in. And yet, she experienced the warmth of a close knit family. She found pleasure in running. Beyond a doubt, she knew she was meant for so much more than standing on the fringes.

By high school, Rachel’s love/hate relationship with food began. If she could just control what she ate, and when she ate, things would change. She could be one of the popular girls, one of the “Sylvias” that seemed to have it all together.

The struggles with eating deepened. Times of starvation followed bouts of bingeing. The negative self talk began. That inner critic, which Rachel nicknamed Mal, became a constant companion.

High Highs and Low Lows

As she bounced around the US and the world, Rachel drove herself to achieve, to present herself as the best teacher, executive assistant or cookie maker. And she succeeded. Additionally, the long days and hard work helped silence her inner critic. However, those perfectionist tendencies took a toll on her physically, emotionally and mentally.

After binge eating a whole pizza one night, and feeling the agony of an overly full stomach after a day of starvation, she made a vow. No more bingeing. Ever.

Thereafter, Rachel attempted to maintain what she considered her ideal weight and size by severely limiting food intake. She appeared successful and thin and brilliant…and she was all of those things. Beneath the shiny exterior though lurked dark thoughts of failing, of not being enough, of not being worthy.

This is a healing journey, thankfully. To get to the recovery part, Rachel had to get to the face-pressed-against-the-floorboards, “I can’t do this anymore” part. She did. And when she reached out, she found help available.

Emancipated Love Junkie collect beautiful moments
Emancipated Love Junkie – collect beautiful moments

My Thoughts About Emancipated Love Junkie

Rachel’s book powerfully captures her journey to recovery and healing. I found her transparency incredibly honest and authentic. Coupled with her conversational and charming writing style, Rachel’s story is easy to read while difficult to put down. She includes Self Love Gems throughout the book that offer helpful suggestions and positive actions.

I hurt for her, as I read about her struggles with food and self worth.  I literally became aware of pressing my hand over my heart as I felt compassion for her.

And although I did not dealt with bingeing or anorexia, I had complicated relationships with food and with myself. I understand Rachel’s journey. My health shifted, for the better, when my relationship with food shifted. For most of my life, I ate foods that I knew created discomfort and inflammation in my body. Gluten and dairy products made me sick. I consumed them anyway. When I felt happy, I ate. When I felt sad, I ate. Loneliness? Boredom? The solution was always food.

I’m grateful for a healthy relationship now with food and with myself.

And I’m grateful as well for Rachel and her changed relationships with food and herself.

She has much to offer to the world. To those struggling secretly or openly with eating disorders, Rachel offers hope.

Emancipated Love Junkie book
Emancipated Love Junkie book

Purchasing Rachel’s Book

You can order Emancipated Love Junkie via Rachel’s website HERE. Or by clicking this Amazon LINK.


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.



Bridgerton Series Review

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

Typically, this time of year is award season, for films and series. Due to last year’s restrictions on producing those films and series, all award shows are currently pushed farther out.

I realized today how few movies I watched last year, perhaps the lowest number in my entire life. My local movie theater closed last March and has not opened again. Thankfully there are streaming services, offering a variety of wonderful movies, documentaries and series.

For some reason, I’ve gravitated toward more series than films during this strange time. As nominations come in for awards, my viewing patterns will shift. Today, however, allow me to share a review of one of my favorite series…so far…currently available on Netflix. I enjoyed the eight episodes so much that I did a rare thing. I watched the entire series for a second time and loved it as much.

Check out my Bridgerton series review.

Bridgerton Review title meme

Bridgerton Cast

This opulent, Netflix Original Series features a large ensemble cast. Actors include Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, Nicola Coughlan, Jonathan Bailey, Harriet Cains, Bessie Carter, Ruth Gemmell, Florence Hunt, Claudia Jessie, Luke Newton, Luke Thompson, Will Tilston, Ruby Barker, Ben Miller, Adjoa Andoh, Polly Walker, Golda Rosheuvel, Ruby Stokes, Freddie Stroma and Julie Andrews (voice only).

Directors for the series include Julie Anne Robinson, Sheree Folkson, Alrick Riley and Tom Verica. Chris Van Dusen created the series, based on the books by Julia Quinn.

Each of the eight episodes runs an hour and carries an Ma for mature rating.

Bridgerton Review the fam
Bridgerton Series Review – the family, minus daughter Fran

Meet the Bridgertons

The title of the series comes from the family bearing the same name. The tagline sets the tone for what unfolds during the eight episodes: “Wealth, lust and betrayal set against the backdrop of Regency Era England, as seen through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton Family.

Lady Violet Bridgerton (Gemmell) raises her large family of eight children alone, after the death of her husband. For convenience, the couple used names beginning with A – H for their offspring: Anthony (Bailey), Benedict (Thompson), Colin (Newton), Daphne (Dynevor), Eloise (Jessie), Francesca (Stokes), Gregory (Tilston) and Hyacinth (Hunt). That trick helps the viewer keep the children straight as well!

The story focuses on Daphne Bridgerton, fourth born child and eldest daughter, at the beginning of the London Season. Every unmarried young woman…and her anxious mama…are out and on the hunt for a suitable husband.

Bridgerton Review daphne
Bridgerton Series Review – Daphne

The London Season

Daphne debuts and sets the bar high, as Queen Charlotte (Rosheuvel) notices her during the presentation of the debutantes. The mysterious writer of the high society gossip sheet, Lady Whistledown (voiced by Andrews), creates a stir with her scathing commentary on London’s elite. Although no one knows who she is (including the viewers), she seems to know everything about everyone.

When London’s most eligible bachelor, Simon the Duke of Hasting (Page), arrives in town, he and Daphne strike an unusual deal. Daphne wants to marry for love, in spite of her brother Anthony’s intention to make a quick match for her. And Simon never wants to marry at all. The two decide to create a pretend courtship. The ruse keeps mothers and their single daughters away from him. And Daphne can take her time finding a suitor to fall in love with.

Bridgerton Review duke and duchess
Bridgerton Series Review – less a match, more an agreement

London Atwitter

It turns out Lady Whistledown has much to write about.

Neighbors of the Bridgertons, the Featheringtons, gain a niece for the Season, much to Lady Featherington’s (Walker) dismay.  She already has three unmarried daughters to find husbands for: Philipa (Cains), Prudence (Carter) and Penelope (Coughlan). And Lord Featherington’s (Miller) niece, Marina (Barker), possesses beauty, charm and a sharp wit. She immediately attracts many would-be suitors, including Colin Bridgerton.

When Queen Charlotte’s nephew, Prince Friedrich (Stroma) arrives, and strives to win Daphne’ heart, all of London watches to see who ends up with the “diamond of the season”.

Bridgerton Review queen charlottes court
Bridgerton Series Review – Queen Charlotte’s court

Mysteries, Secrets and Scandals

While courtships form or falter and love blossoms or dies, the undercurrent in London becomes more complex. Eloise and Penelope form a partnership to uncover the identity of the mysterious Lady Whistledown.

Marina hides a secret that makes her desperate to marry quickly. And Daphne must choose between a prince and the man who vows he will never marry, but who has captured her heart nonetheless. Simon is not immune to Daphne’s charms however a difficult relationship with his father hardened his heart toward marriage and siring children.

Presiding over all these stories…of joy, desire and heartbreak…and over all the balls and society gatherings, is the queen and Lady Danbury (Andoh). This feisty, fierce, yet kind woman knows more about Simon and matters of the heart than anyone else.

Bridgerton Review simon and lady danbury
Bridgerton Series Review – Lady Danbury and Simon

My Thoughts on Bridgerton

I loved this series. First of all, because it’s a lavishly depicted historical piece. The costumes and settings astound with their beauty. And I find British shows especially fun to watch.

Secondly, I enjoyed the multiple story lines. A few characters, like Pen’s sisters, have minor roles. That’s understandable with a cast this large. Most characters though develop nicely as the series progresses. I came to adore Eloise Bridgerton, who follows curiosity and never hesitates to speak her mind. And Penelope is a joy to watch as she learns to carve out her own unique space apart from her mother and sisters.

And finally, I appreciate the casting of the characters. Everyone is simply, or complexly, who they are, regardless of race or skin color. They are people with complicated, intriguing stories and lives, period. Although set in the past, Bridgerton shows what’s possible when we accept each other as we are.

Bridgerton Review behind the scenes
Bridgerton Series Review – fun behind the scenes moment

Second Season Picked Up

The good news is, for those of us who watched Bridgerton and immediately craved more, a second season is on the way. I’m so excited!

There are eight books in the series, and Netflix intends to create eight seasons. Each book focuses on a different Bridgerton child. The series intends to follow the same format. That means I have seven more seasons to look forward to. In the meantime, I’m now reading the books.

Have you seen Bridgerton? If so, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments. If not, know this. The series is intended for mature audiences. Due to some nudity and quite a lot of sexual content, this series is not for children. Savor the show after the kids go to bed, with a glass of wine or a mug of hot tea. But do savor it. It’s a visual and emotional treat.

Bridgerton Review Anthony
Bridgerton Series Review – season two focuses on the eldest Bridgerton child, Anthony

Pick up the Bridgerton books from Amazon:



And if you enjoyed this series review, check out this one:

Yellowstone Series Review


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 Story Behind Little Golden Books

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

As one of my celebration activities, during the 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, I drew this slip of paper: Write about a topic I’ve never written about before.

I had just boxed up children’s books in my home and delivered them to my daughter, for her baby girl, Finley. Delivering the books, I wondered, When did Little Golden Books come into existence? I remembered reading them as a child. And I read them to my children and grandchildren.

That question led to research and a blog topic I’ve never written about before.

Here’s the story behind Little Golden Books.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books title meme

The Beginning of Little Golden Books

When Little Golden Books first published, in 1942, high quality books for children were expensive, averaging $2 to $3 each. Most parents couldn’t afford such books. Little Golden Books changed that, launching 12 titles in their first series.

Sold in stores where people shopped weekly, and at an extremely reasonable 25 cents each, the books gained instant popularity. Hundreds of thousands of books sold, drawing the attention of talented writers such as Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon, and new author Richard Scarry. Millions of children developed a love for reading, thanks to these affordable books.

The first three titles published in 1942 included Three Little Kittens, The Little Red Hen and The Alphabet from A to Z. Each book featured brightly colored illustrations and a sturdy cardboard cover with a shiny, golden spine.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books red hen
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – The Little Red Hen


Little Golden Books Timeline


Just four months after their initial launch, most Little Golden Book titles are in their third printing. More than 1.5 million copies sell during that time.

In 1944, Disney publishes their first Little Golden Book, Through the Picture Frame.


In the 1950s the company celebrates its 10th anniversary with 183 million books sold. The cost is still 25 cents. Except for Russia, the books are available throughout the world.


Prices raise slightly in the 60s, to 29 cents. Due to the popularity of Saturday morning cartoons, titles include favorites such as The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound and Tom and Jerry.


Sesame Street titles join Little Golden Books in the 1970s. And the first Barbie title is published in 1974. The price per book is now 59 cents.


In 1982, Little Golden Books celebrates its 40th anniversary, with more than 800 million books sold. Cost per book rises to 89 cents. On November 20, 1986, the one billionth Little Golden Book is printed. The Poky Little Puppy becomes the best selling children’s book of all time.

Click photo to order this title from Amazon.


By the 2000s, the company relaunches its most popular vintage books, due to consumer demand. Little Golden Books offers 1200 unique titles, priced at $2.99 each.


July 2013 sees the release of Star Wars Little Golden Books, with a Star Wars theme on the golden spines. Books are now $3.99 each. Random House publishes the New York Times bestseller, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow.

Little Golden Books celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2017. There are 644 titles in print. Books sell for $4.99. The company continues to release new titles for today’s child. Penguin Random House is the current publisher.

A recent release, available from Amazon. Click photo to order.

A Childhood Tradition that Continues

I grew up reading Little Golden Books. My favorite titles were fairy tales and classics such as The Little Red Hen. When my family moved from Oklahoma to Missouri, in 1970, we sold our collection of books at a garage sale. Oh, how I wish I still had my childhood books!

My children grew up reading Little Golden Books as well. Their favorites included stories about animals, tie ins to television shows such Sesame Street and Pano the Train. I read The Boy with a Drum so many times that I memorized it. That book continued as an often requested read from my grandchildren. I can still quote most of the book from memory.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books vintage
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – these are vintage now and well worn from years of reading

A New Home for My Little Golden Books

With the birth of my newest granddaughter, Finley Grace, it felt like time for the collection of books to go to a new home. I boxed up the Little Golden Books along with Dr. Seuss classics and paperback favorites such as The Berenstain Bears series.

My daughter Adriel graciously accepted those books and gave them a new home in the baby’s nursery. I’m so thrilled that Adriel and her husband Nate read to Finley daily and indeed began reading to her while she was still in the womb. At almost three months old, she loves books already.

My oldest child, daughter Elissa, recently showed me the copy of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Little Golden Book that she had just purchased. I admired it and asked if the book was for Finley. “Oh no,” she told me. “This is my book.”

That’s my girl. And that’s the continuing power of Little Golden Books.

Do you have a favorite title?

The Story Behind Little Golden Books bookcase
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – a new home for the books

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