Things to Do in Colorful Burano Italy

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Burano, Italy is an island in the Venice Lagoon, about 45 minutes away by boat from that more well known sister city. Often called one of the top most colorful towns in the world, Burano is well worth exploring as a day trip…or even half a day…from Venice.

Learn more about this charming community of about 3,000 inhabitants. And discover things to do in colorful Burano Italy.

Things to Do in Colorful Burano Italy title meme

Getting to Burano

Visitors to Venice can easily include a trip to tiny Burano via water buses. Our tour group took a large water bus to Burano, for lunch and an afternoon of exploring.

Half a day to a day provides plenty of time to experience the beautiful island.

What to do while on Burano? Read on for a list of possibilities.

Start in Piazza Galuppi

Burano’s main square, Piazza Galuppi, is a great place to begin your exploration on the island. Shops and cafes offer places to purchase goods and eat. Also check out the stone Istrian well that dates back to the 6th century. And note the statue of Baldassarre Galuppi, a famous composer from the island.

Because Burano is famous for its lace  making, visit the Burano Museum of Lace if you have time.

Things to Do in Colorful Burano Italy
Things to Do in Colorful Burano Italy – begin in the square

Watch a Glass Demonstration

Nearby Murano Island is famous for their glass, just as Burano is for their lace. However, you don’t have to go to Murano for a glass making demonstration. You can see one in Burano.

New Arte Fuga is a shop that sells Murano glass AND gives a glass making demo as well. We caught the demonstration in Venice, however, while in Burano you can check out this amazing art form.

Attend a Lace Making Demonstration

Although Venetian Lace became popular in the 1500s, its production ceased in 1797 with the fall of the Republic of Venice. During an extremely cold winter, in 1872, the fishing community of Burano suffered hardship due to the weather. The economy depended on fishing.

The art of needle lace revived and gained in popularity, easing Burano’s economic situation and improving the island’s quality of life. A lace making school opened and soon became the main source of income for Burano. Although the school eventually closed, women in Burano continue the art of lace making in their homes and shops.

From lace tablecloths to collars to umbrellas to shawls and scarves, there is a vast variety of Burano lace available for purchase. Visit any of the shops in the square or along the narrow streets to find a lace souvenir to take home.

Burano Lace
Things to Do in Burano Italy – purchase a lace adorned scarf

Take a One Hour Walking Tour with a Local

There’s no better way to learn about a community, than from someone who lives there.

If you have time, walk through Burano on this tour, with a knowledgeable guide. It’s a great way to learn the history, secrets and daily life in Burano, from someone born and raised there.

Photograph the Colorful Houses

Burano is known for its brightly colored houses that line the canals and winding streets. Made up of four small islands connected by bridges, Burano’s colorful houses are the other unifying feature.

Legend says that the houses were originally painted in bright colors so that fishermen could find their way home on foggy nights. The fishermen could also easily tell which house was theirs, as each house features a different color.

Today Burano’s painted houses are protected by law. If anyone wants to paint a house, he or she must get approval to do so from the community government first.

These softly hued houses make Burano one of the most photographed places in the world.

Burano's colorful houses
Things to do in colorful Burano Italy – photograph the houses

Try Burano’s Sweet Treat

Bussola…also called Buranelli…are dense cookies sold in the town. The cookies originated with the fishermen’s wives, who made the treats to send with their husbands on trips out to sea.

The cookies provided the fishermen with nutrients during a long day fishing.

You can sample one of these tasty treats. Look for them in Burano’s shops and cafes.

Take a Photo of Burano’s Leaning Tower

Pisa isn’t the only town in Italy with a leaning tower. Burano has one too!

The bell tower of the Church of St. Martin Bishop is easily seen from all over the island. It stands 159 feet tall on a square base and has an obvious tilt.

At one time an angel statue stood atop the tower. It came down during a storm in 1867. An iron cross tops the tower now.

Things to Do in Colorful Burano Italy leaning tower
Things to Do in Colorful Burano – photograph the town’s leaning tower

Enjoy Lunch or Dinner on the Island

With its proximity to the sea, Burano features many fresh seafood dishes. Three of Burano’s best restaurants include Trattoria Al Gatto Nero, Trattoria da Romano and Riva Rosa.

The town’s specialty is Risotto De Go, a dish prepared with a local fish.

And if you are plant based, like me, no worries. I enjoyed a wonderful vegetable lunch, prepared with great care by our chef. It was excellent.

Walk Across the Tre Ponti

Burano has three lovely canals in town. Cross over them on any of the available bridges and pause to snap a photo.

The Tre Ponti is the most famous of the bridges. Made of wood, Tre Ponti is perfectly situated to catch many of Burano’s most scenic views.

Things to Do in Colorful Burano Italy houses
Things to do in colorful Burano Italy – view from Tre Ponti

Wander Through the Town on Your Own

Our favorite thing to do on Burano was to explore the island, on our own. After a wonderful lunch near the square and time visiting shops, we struck out on our own to explore.

Burano is small enough that you can’t get lost. Or if you do, it won’t be for long. With it’s brightly colored houses, gorgeous canals and narrow streets, Burano is a charming, less crowded, much smaller version of Venice.

We literally walked from one end of the island to the other, enjoying a leisurely stroll. It was fun to watch kids playing and adults sitting together talking. We stopped to catch a gorgeous view of the sea, at the end of one of the canals.

When we reach a row of shuttered houses with fragrant, tiny gardens, we turned to walk back to the square. What an enchanting experience.

Have You Been to Burano?

This tiny island truly exudes fairy tale charm. The eye catching houses, tranquil canals and slower pace make it an ideal excursion while visiting Venice. And if you enjoy taking photos, it is a photographer’s dream location.

Have you been to colorful Burano, Italy? What did you most enjoy?

Things to Do in Colorful Burano Italy garden
Things to Do in Colorful Burano Italy – explore

Check out these fun finds from Amazon:

 


 

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Wild Woman Manifesto

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Two years ago, I wrote about creating a personal manifesto. You can read that post HERE.

As a reminder, a manifesto is a statement of intentions and ideals. Think of it as a mission statement or a declaration of beliefs, desires and values.

A personal manifesto helps us to evaluate where we are in life, and provides clarity on where we want to go. It can provoke change, encourage shifts and inspire forward momentum.

Each person’s manifesto is uniquely his or her own, reflecting journeys, beliefs, desires and wisdom.

The thing is as I grow, learn and settle more deeply into who I am, my manifesto changes, as it should. Recently I realized it’s time to update mine.

This is the perfect opportunity, during my Year of the Wild Woman, to make some changes. Here is my Wild Woman Manifesto.

Wild Woman Manifesto title meme

Growth and Change

A personal manifesto reflects an individual’s beliefs, desires and life values. Those naturally change as we learn and grow as humans.

Some of my growth the last couple of years, since I wrote the last manifesto, includes moving deeper into myself, shedding completely the “people pleaser” personality that I had and connecting strongly with my beliefs and desires.

I am becoming. And part of that process involves learning to stand solidly on my own, seeing my value and offering who I am unapologetically to others. I belong to myself, and to no one else.

Brene Brown says:

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.”

She goes on to say that true belonging requires you to be who you are.

This is my journey. I am becoming the Wild Woman who loves her people fiercely, enjoys travel and creative play, values my alone time and marches to the beat that I drum.

Wild Woman Manifesto year
Wild Woman Manifesto – Year of the Wild Woman

Wild Woman Manifesto

Not all of my beliefs, desires and values changed. Some deepened. I’m keeping those. Some no longer quite align with who I am becoming. And some I’ve learned more about, as I discover my voice and open my heart.

You can click the link above, to see my original manifesto. Then check out this year’s Wild Woman Manifesto that accurately reflects where I am at this point in my journey.

I Believe…

  • in Divine guidance  and having a personal relationship with God
  • in a daily, ongoing, playful conversation with the Divine
  • I am called to live life beyond the edges, free from fear and playing small
  • self acceptance and self love are crucial to offering unconditional love to others
  • life unfolds for me in magical, oft times mysterious ways
  • ALL people are worthy of love and we are all connected
  • I am a guardian of the Earth and her precious resources
  • kindness toward others is a strong indicator of a person’s truest heart
  • my most authentic self is unfettered, untamed and free
  • I am a loner at heart…and that’s not a defect
  • happiness is my responsibility and no one else’s
  • I am manifesting a life that’s perfect for me, one day at a time

 

Wild Woman Manifesto making it up
Wild Woman Manifesto – making it up as I go

I Desire to…

  • follow curiosity
  • surrender to the flow of life
  • embrace all of my gifts and my quirks
  • live from my passionate, open heart
  • engage in new experiences
  • travel and work/write remotely from anywhere in the world
  • encourage my children and grandchildren to live authentically and joyfully
  • offer to others through my writing and my life experiences
  • express creativity in a multitude of ways
  • live in the moment, releasing the past and not worrying about the future
  • live a healthy, vibrant plant based lifestyle
  • stay true to who I am, always
  • create a peaceful environment in my home and garden that fully supports me
  • remain unattached to outcomes
  • dream BIG dreams
Wild and Free
Wild Woman Manifesto – wild and free…and ready for adventure

My Life Wisdom…

  • I accept that for me, the veil between this world and the Spirit world is thin
  • my intuition guides me unerringly
  • if I ask a question, I always get an answer
  • I have nothing to fear
  • if fear shows up in my life, it is an invitation to learn and trust
  • I must speak my truth…silence is seen as agreement
  • comparison and worry are thieves of joy
  • I’m 100% responsible for my life and my reactions/responses to life situations
  • I am open to everything and attached to nothing
  • others have the freedom to be exactly who they are at this moment in their lives
  • I’m not here to live someone else’s life or to abide by someone else’s expectations of who they think I am
  • I create change in my life by first shifting my thoughts and beliefs
  • my outer world is a true reflection of my inner one
  • I am the Queen of my own kingdom and it is ever expanding
  • challenging experiences create growth and expansion in my life
  • gratitude is the foundation of my life

Who Are You?

Would you like to write your own personal manifesto? Refer to my post about creating one HERE.

Then spend time reflecting on your life and jotting down what’s true for you under the headers of BELIEFS, DESIRES, VALUES or LIFE WISDOM. DON’T ASK ANYONE ELSE WHAT THEY THINK! This is your deep inner work.

And remain aware that as you grow your manifesto grows with you.

I’ve discovered that not everyone understands my journey. In fact, most people don’t. That’s okay. It’s my journey, my amazing life, my growth.

As I’ve grown and embraced who I am, I’ve lost friends and had people simply disappear without a word from my life, while others tell me I’ve changed so much…as if that’s a bad thing. Someone even said, “I liked you better before.” That’s because before I didn’t speak my truth.

You know what? None of that matters, to me or to you. What matters is that you…and I….live as our most authentic, most courageous selves. We continue the process of becoming. And other people…well they have their own journeys and growing to do. Their remarks or backing away has everything to do with them, not us.

Write that manifesto…and share it with me, if you want.

Wild Woman Manifesto crouch
Wild Woman Manifesto – unapologetically me

Recommended Reading

I highly recommend these books for the journey.

Untamed

Untamed Journal

Braving the Wilderness

Untethered Soul

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Good Luck Traditions from England

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This fun series, looking at unique superstitions and traditions in different countries, comes to a close with this post. That is, until I visit more countries!

I wondered if England’s traditions and those in Scotland, Ireland and the US might be very similar. However, I found that not true. There are some similarities. For the most part though, England has their own collection of superstitions and good luck practices. Or, in some cases, the good luck traditions from England are the opposite of those in other countries.

You’ll see what I mean, in the following post.

Good Luck Traditions from England title meme

Pocket that Money

Putting money into the right hand pocket of new clothes brings good luck and fortune. The practice is thought to attract MORE money to put into that pocket.

Similar British traditions include wearing new clothes on New Year’s Day and on Easter Sunday, so that more new clothes arrive.

Cut Hair at the Right Time

This British traditions suggests that cutting hair as the moon is waxing ensures good luck. At the very least, the Farmer’s Almanac agrees that cutting hair during this time results in thicker, faster and longer hair growth.

Want to try it out? Cut or trim your hair during the first two days of a waxing (growing) new moon.

Good Luck Traditions from England waxing moon
Good luck traditions from England – cut hair during the waxing moon

Hang a Horseshoe Over the Door

Horseshoes are considered lucky because they are made of iron, which supposedly wards off evil spirits. And the horseshoes are traditionally hung with seven nails. Seven is the luckiest number.

It’s important though, how that horseshoe is hung. Make sure to hang it so that it resembles a U, to invite good luck into the home. Hang it upside down and luck runs out of the house.

Meet a Black Cat

In the US and some other countries, encountering a black cat is considered bad luck. However, the British believe it’s lucky to meet a black cat. In fact, black cats are often featured on good luck and birthday greeting cards in England.

Good Luck Traditions from England black cat
Good luck traditions from England – lucky black cats

White Rabbits

This tradition says it’s considered lucky to say the words, “white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits” on the first day of each month, before saying any other words.

Why though?

One possibility is that the word rabbit was an expletive many years ago. The ancient belief is that uttering expletives helps avoid evil. Another possibility is that rabbits are considered lucky animals.

This custom carried over to the United States. President Roosevelt apparently uttered rabbits, rabbits, rabbits on the first day of every month.

Falling Leaves

Catching falling leaves in autumn guarantees good luck for the following year. Each leaf caught equals one month of good luck. So for the best year possible, catch 12 leaves as they fall to the ground.

Good Luck Traditions from England falling leaves
Good luck traditions from England – catch falling leaves in autumn

Knocking on Wood

In the US, and some other countries, people knock on wood to keep something from happening. For example, someone says, “I’ve never had a car accident…knock on wood.” And they then rap their knuckles against something wooden, like a table.

The British tradition is the opposite. They knock on wood to make something happen. “I intend to travel this summer…knock on wood.” And they then touch or knock on something wooden.

Four Leaf Clover

This tradition seems similar in several countries, including the US. Find a four leaf clover, good luck comes to you.

This tradition originates in Ireland. The majority of clovers have three leaves. A more rare four leaf clover brings faith, hope, love and luck to the finder.

Get a lucky four leaf clover charm to carry always, HERE.

Good Luck Traditions from England four leaf clover
Good luck traditions from England – four leaf clover

Peacock Feathers

Those gorgeous peacock feathers are NOT considered lucky in England. It’s considered unlucky to have peacock feathers inside the home or to hold anything made from the feathers.

This tradition comes from the belief that the eye shape on the feather is associated with the Evil Eye and wickedness.

Ravens

In some parts of the UK, encountering two ravens together is good luck.

Two ravens bring good luck or good news. Seeing one raven brings bad luck.

In Greek mythology, ravens are associated with Apollo, the god of prophecy. Ravens are also called God’s messenger to the mortal world. Seeing one means change is coming.

According to English legend, the Kingdom of England will fall if the ravens at the Tower of London leave or die. As a result, six ravens, at least, have resided there for centuries. Obviously, not the exact same ravens.

Good Luck Traditions from England ravens
Good luck traditions from England – ravens. I snapped this photo in the Tower.

Your Good Luck Traditions

Do you or your family practice any good luck traditions? My family has an assortment of sayings and traditions, passed down from generation to generation.

I have a fairly high percentage of English DNA. I enjoyed learning more about this country’s traditions.

You can check out the other posts in this series:

Ten Scottish Superstitions

The Luck of the Irish

Italy’s Good Luck Traditions

I’d love to hear about any traditions or superstitions that your family practices. You’ll find me out this autumn, catching leaves as they fall! And…I already have a lucky horseshoe, hung correctly, over my front door.

Good Luck Traditions from England peacock feathers
Good luck traditions from England – no peacock feather in the house

 

 

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In The Heights

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How exciting, as movie theaters open back up, to experience a fun summer musical! I had the opportunity to attend a virtual screening for In The Heights ahead of its release date. This movie, though, deserves a big screen viewing!

I happily returned to my local theater, for the first time in over a year, for the thrill of watching this amazing musical as it’s meant to be watched.

Check out my review for In The Heights and then enjoy the first big hit of the summer in a theater near you.

In The Heights title meme

In The Heights Cast

This film version of the Broadway musical stars Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Berrara, Olga Merediz, Jimmy Smits, Gregory Diaz IV and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

In The Heights is directed by Jon M. Chu. The screenplay is based on the musical and music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Quiara Alegria Hudes contributed to the concept and the screenplay.

The musical carries a PG-13 rating, for mild language and suggestive references, and has a run time of 2 hours and 23 minutes.

In The Heights dance
In The Heights – get ready to dance!

In The Heights Synopsis

The movie focuses on the lives of a variety of people living in northern Manhattan. Washington Heights, referred to simply as “The Heights”, contains small mom and pop shops, thriving and struggling businesses and generations of families.

Dreams of all kinds thrive in this close knit community too. Meet the dreamers and those who encourage them.

Usnavi

At the heart of The Heights is Usnavi (Ramos), who runs a little neighborhood bodega. Everyone in the community stops by every morning for coffee and perhaps a lottery ticket. Usnavi sells both while offering encouraging words of advice.

Usnavi nurtures a sueñito, a little dream he’s carried since his childhood. He dreams of purchasing and reviving his deceased father’s beach café in Dominican Republic. After saving and scrimping for years, it seems that Usnavi’s dream is finally within reach.

Usnavi’s younger cousin, Sonny (Diaz IV), helps in the bodega and pushes his cousin to ask Vanessa out. Sonny dreams of going to college, a difficult sueñito to fulfill as his family cannot afford it and the boy is an undocumented immigrant.

In The Heights Usnavi
In The Heights – Usnavi and Vanessa

Vanessa

Vanessa (Barrera), is Usnavi’s love interest, although she doesn’t know that. She works at the neighborhood salon. However the salon is relocating to the Bronx, due to increasing rent. Vanessa’s sueñito is to rent her own apartment downtown and become a fashion designer.

Her dream gets an immediate setback when her application for the apartment is denied, due to a lack of credit.

Kevin Rosario and His Daughter Nina

Kevin (Smits) owns and operates the neighborhood taxi company. He employs Benny (Hawkins). Nina (Grace) returns home from her first year at Stanford. She is fulfilling her father’s dream. However, Nina comes home to tell him that she’s dropping out of college due to loneliness and financial strains. Nina misses The Heights and feels out of place at Stanford.

Kevin sold off half of the building he owns, to pay for Nina’s college education. He is not easily deterred from seeing his daughter graduate from Stanford.

Benny loves Nina. With him, Nina finds life simpler. However, she worries about the future and struggles with self doubt. Benny reminds her of what’s important and tells her that she is destined for greatness.

In The Heights Benny, Nina and Kevin
In The Heights – Benny, Nina and Kevin

Abuela Claudia

The matriarch of the neighborhood, Abuela (Merediz) took Usnavi in as a boy and raised him. While not actually related to him, this kind and wise woman serves as his… and everyone’s…abuela. She remembers her childhood in Cuba, where she and her mother lived in poverty.

In New York, Claudia endured hardships and overcame challenges to get to where she is today. Her role is to encourage everyone else to pursue their dreams and never give up. Abuela’s favorite words are “paciencia y fe”…”patience and faith”.

In The Heights Abuela
In The Heights – the matriarch, Abuela Claudia

A Summer to Remember

In The Heights, summer brings record breaking temperatures. The whole neighborhood closes down early one day and everyone heads to the community pool to cool off.

On the way there, Usnavi learns that one of the lottery tickets the bodega sold won $96,000. When he shares the exciting news, the whole neighborhood goes wild, each person imaging what he or she could do with that money.

The heat continues. Mr. Piraguero (Miranda), who sells snow cones, sadly sings about how the new ice cream truck in the neighborhood is stealing his business.

A black out occurs, due to the extreme heat, and the whole neighborhood shuts down for days. It’s a breaking point for some…and a time of shift and change for others…and a time for making dreams come true for a few, in unexpected ways.

Summer In The Heights
Hot summer In The Heights

My Thoughts About In The Heights

As stated, this movie is a musical, which is one of my favorite genres. The characters sing much of the dialogue. And they dance too!

I love this musical. It beautifully showcases the richness of the Latin culture through music and dance. And it shines a brilliant light on the importance of family, community and encouraging one another toward the realization of dreams.

Those themes thrill me. As a dreamer myself, I love watching the different characters discover more about who they are as dreams shift, change and manifest. I appreciate the closeness of the community and how generations of people pave the way for each new generation.

This is such a fun film. I can’t help but smile and tap my foot over the musical numbers.  The movie goers in my theater applauded with me at the end.

We all have dreams. The time has come. Let In The Heights inspire you to keep pursuing yours. Catch it at your local theater or on HBOMax.

Time Has Come

Did you enjoy this review? Check out this one too: Nomadland

Get the In The Heights movie soundtrack HERE.

 

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

Must Visit Places in Rome

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Rome, capital of Italy and the country’s most populated city. The area has supported humans for almost three thousand years.

Roman poet Tibullus called Rome the “Eternal City” in the 1st century BC. It’s also known as the “Capital of the World” and considered the art and cultural center of the world. Famous artists, sculptors, painters and architects flourished in Rome, creating masterpieces throughout the city.

Rome is the 11th most visited city in the world, the third most visited in Europe and the most popular tourist destination in Italy. And for good reason. Beauty abounds here. History, art and culture co-exist marvelously.

It’s a fascinating city to explore. While there…check out these must visit places in Rome.

Must Visit Places in Rome title meme

Vatican Museums

Vatican City is the world’s smallest independent country, located within the city of Rome. It is the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church.

Within the Vatican Walls explore the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica (more on these two sites below), the palace and gardens and St Peter’s Square.

Visit the Vatican museums. They include the Picture Gallery, Museum of Secular Art, Etruscan Museum and others. Collections contain art of all kinds, from sculptures to paintings to tapestries. The museums are stunning in their variety and beauty. There are small group tours available and a skip the line type tour you may want to book in advance.

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel, located within Vatican City, contains one of the most famous frescoes in the world. On the chapel ceiling, Michelangelo’s masterpiece inspires wonder. Security officers within the room encourage silence out of respect for the space. Truly, the magnificence of the paintings instill reverence. It’s not difficult to observe the silence.

Visitors cannot take photos in the Sistine Chapel either, to protect the vibrancy of the artwork.

Built between 1473 and 1481, the chapel was originally known as The Great Chapel. It’s currently the site of the papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is selected.

Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling, completed between 1508 and 1512 is regarded as one of the major artistic accomplishments in human history. It’s the ceiling and Michelangelo’s Last judgement, painted between 1535 and 1541, that draw visitors to the Sistine Chapel.

Read fun facts about the Sistine Chapel HERE.

Must Visit Places in Rome Vatican Museums
Must Visit Places in Rome – a tapestry in the Vatican Museums

Trevi Fountain

This 17th century masterpiece is one of Rome’s most popular attractions. Immortalized in numerous films and stories, Trevi Fountain is a must see. Throwing a coin in the fountain continues a long standing tradition that assures a return visit to Rome.

This massive fountain, the largest in the city, is supplied by an aqueduct constructed by Agrippa in the 1st century BC, to bring water to his baths. The fountain was constructed between 1732 and 1751. It depicts the sea god Neptune with horses, tritons and seashells. The water collects in a large basin that is always filled with coins.

St Peter’s Basilica

St Peter’s is considered the most famous example of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world, measuring the interior. It also has the world’s tallest dome.

Tradition says that the basilica is the resting place of Saint Peter, one of Jesus’ apostles. His tomb lies directly below the high altar. A church has stood on this site since the time of Constantine the Great. Old St Peter’s Basilica dates back to the 4th century. Construction began on the present day basilica in April 1506, with completion 120 years later, in November 1626.

The interior truly is magnificent, with its 150 foot tall walls and gold coffered ceilings. Michelangelo’s La Pieta is on display in St Peter’s. La Pieta depicts Christ lying in Mary’s lap, after his crucifixion. Due to a vicious attack on the sculpture in 1972, La Pieta now sits behind a bullet proof glass shield.

Must Visit Places in Rome St Peters Basilica
Must Visit Places in Rome – St Peter’s Basilica

The Spanish Steps

The historic center of Rome, Centro Storico is filled with palaces, art filled churches and beautiful squares. Trevi Fountain is located in this area, along with Piazza Navona (see below) and Piazza di Spagna.

Located in Piazza di Spagna, The Spanish Steps leads up to the French church Trinita dei Monti. The steps provide a favorite spot for tourists to gather. People sit and enjoy a gelato or bask in the sun.

At the base of the Spanish Steps rests the Barcaccia Fountain. Via Condotti, the road through Piazza di Spagna, is Rome’s most fashionable shopping street. Visit Cafe Greco nearby, where artists, writers and musicians like to gather.

Castel Sant’Angelo

This huge, round structure on the Tiber River began as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family, in 135 AD. Over the years, Castel Sant’Angelo served as a papal residence, a fortress and most recently, as a National Museum.

In its early years it protected the city from attacks. Located near Vatican City, popes fled to the Castel across a secret corridor during times of danger. They also stored their treasures there for safekeeping.

Travel across the pedestrian bridge to reach the Castel. Angel statues, created by Bernini, line the gorgeous bridge with its arches. Inside the Castel are five floors containing prison cells, a collection of weapons and papal apartments decorated with Renaissance frescoes. At the top is a terrace that provides beautiful views of Rome.

Must Visit Places in Rome Castel Sant'Angelo
Must Visit Places in Rome – Castel Sant’Angelo

Piazza Navona

Located in Centro Storico, Piazza Navona is a classic Baroque square. Within the square is the outline still of a Roman stadium built by Emperor Domitian. Festivals and horse races took place there during the Middle Ages.

Borromini rebuilt the square in the Baroque style. He also designed the palaces and the Church of Sant’Agnese on the west side.

The centerpiece of the piazza is the Baroque fountain, Fontana dei Fiumi, created by Bernini. The fountain represents the four largest rivers on earth at that time: the Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio de la Plata.

Piazza Navona hosts one of Rome’s  bests Christmas markets every December.

Roman Forum

Once the center of Roman life, the Forum was the heart of the city. What remains now are standing and fallen columns, arches and partial walls.

At one time the Forum housed courts, markets and meeting places. The buildings all fell into ruin after the 7th century. Stones from those ancient structures were quarried for use in other Roman buildings throughout the city.

Must Visit Places in Rome Roman Forum
Must Visit Places in Rome – Roman Forum

The Pantheon

This 2000 year old monument is one of Rome’s most well preserved structures. Rebuilt in 80 AD after a fire, the work is extraordinary. The height is the same as the diameter. And the dome appears to hang suspended, without support. Those are actually hidden within the walls. Additionally, the building’s central opening is the only light source for the interior.

Originally a pagan temple, Pope Boniface dedicated the building to the Virgin Mary in 609. It then became the burial site for Italian kings and other famous Italians, including the painter Raphael.

Pope Urban VIII  removed and melted down the bronze roof tiles, casting them as the canopy over the alter at St Peter’s Basilica and as cannons for Castel Sant’Angelo.

The Colosseum

This large Roman structure is the symbol of Rome, much as Big Ben is London’s and the Eiffel Tower represents Paris.

Construction began in 72 AD and the structure inaugurated in 80 AD with a series of games held within. The Colosseum hosted theatrical performances, festivals, circuses and games featuring wild animals and gladiators.

Court officials watched from the lower levels, aristocrats occupied the next level while the general population sat in the upper levels. The Colosseum held 50,000 to 70,000 spectators. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum housed people and supplied building materials for other structures throughout the city.

A massive restoration project, carried out over the last decade, restored the facade and just finished in the underground areas. For the first time, beginning this month, visitors can see the passageways and rooms that gladiators, animals and performers occupied before riding to the Colosseum floor in elevators and pulleys.

Recently the Ministry of Culture announced plans to build a wooden arena over the lower areas, returning the Colosseum to a usable structure for concerts and cultural events.

Must Visit Places in Rome Colosseum
Must Visit Places in Rome – Colosseum, interior shot.

Visiting Rome

My daughter, grandson and I visited Rome in 2017, the starting and ending point of our 12 day tour in Italy.

Our time there seemed magical as we explored sites I’ve read about all my life. Standing inside the Colosseum was a surreal experience. Remember the movie Gladiator? I could easily imagine such life and death battles taking place there.

Vatican City proved the biggest surprise for me, with its immense collections of art. And standing quietly in the Sistine Chapel, looking up at Michelangelo’s incredible work, brought tears to my eyes.

Have you visited Rome, Italy? Share your experiences with me in the comments!

Group shot in Colosseum

Fun Finds from Amazon:

 


 

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World Refugee Day

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

June 20 is World Refugee Day. The day honors, respects and brings awareness to refugees around the world. The United Nations designated the day in 2001 to celebrate the strength, courage and resiliency of people forced to flee their homes due to conflicts and persecution.

It’s also a time to deepen compassion and empathy for those who are displaced and to recognize their efforts to rebuild their lives.

Read on for more information about the current plight of refugees worldwide. And to learn what I did to help this year.

Word Refugee Day title meme

Facts About Refugees

A person forced to leave his or her country due to war, persecution, disasters or violence is a refugee. Every minute, 20 people flee their homelands.

By the end of 2020, 82.4 million refugees remained displaced worldwide. More than half of the refugees are children. The number of people seeking asylum is high. Just last year, another 1.1 million people submitted requests for asylum.

Currently more than 6 million refugees live in camps. Although not meant to be permanent, some refugees live in camps for years. Basic needs are met there, such as food, water, shelter, medical care and emergency services.

Turkey hosts the most refugees, with 3.6 million living there currently. Columbia shelters 1.8 million who have fled from Venezuela.

Over two thirds of all refugees come from five countries: Syria with 6.6 million, Venezuela with 3.7 million, Afghanistan with 2.7 million, South Sudan with 2.3 million and Myanmar with 1 million.

This year’s theme for World Refugee Day is inclusion. Together, we can achieve anything.

World Refugee Day refugees
World Refugee Day – 82.4 million people are displaced

What I Did to Help This Year

I discovered a way to help refugees this year. I participated in a challenge sponsored by Church World Service (CWS). CWS is a faith based organization that transforms communities around the world through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster.

The Ration Challenge began Sunday June 13 and concluded Saturday June 19.

There are three parts to the challenge.

Raise Money

I set up a fundraising page through CWS and began to share my goals and intentions via social media. Sponsoring myself with an initial donation ensured I received my ration package in the mail.

I set a goal of raising $679. Those funds feed three refugees in camps for a year.

It was important for me to express to others why I wanted to do a ration challenge.

My reasons include:

  • raising awareness of refugees, their struggles and also their resilience
  • learning what it’s like to be in their situation by experiencing it on a small scale. I wanted the eye opening experience. And I wanted to shift my perspective, enlarge it and then respond.
  • being an example. I felt confident asking for donations because I was willing to donate also and to share in the experience of eating rations for a week.
  • putting actions with my words is important to me. Walking the talk, stepping up, making a difference were all motivating factors.
World Refugee Day fundraising page
World Refugee Day – fundraising page

 

Eat Rations

By sponsoring myself with an initial donation of $100 before May 27, I received a ration box identical to what adult Syrian refugees receive. The box contained one week of rations: a can of kidney beans, 6 ounces of lentils, 15 ounces of white rice, 3 ounces of dried chickpeas and four coupons. The coupons replicate what a refugee receives. They are traded for food.

My coupons allowed me to add to my rations: 7 1/3 cups of additional rice (I chose brown rice), 3 cups of flour (I used gluten free flour), 12 ounces of oil (I used my Almeria Gold olive oil) and because I am vegan, I received a coupon for 3.75 ounces of tofu, rather than the standard can of sardines. I don’t eat tofu either so I substituted another protein, 3.75 ounces of red beans.

On Sunday morning, June 13, I began the challenge by eating only the ration food and drinking only water. Included in my box of rations was a booklet containing recipes created by refugees. The book proved so helpful. And it contains personal stories of refugees. Check out my experience doing the challenge, below.

World Refugee Day rations
World Refugee Day – a week’s rations

Save Lives

The money raised through the Ration Challenge helps in two ways.

First, by providing emergency assistance to meet people’s most urgent needs. Life is already difficult for refugees. Now, due to the COVID pandemic, refugees are experiencing lockdowns, job losses (for those very few who are earning a small income) and disruptions to aid. Hunger is rampant.

The money funds programs that provide food rations, health care and other essential support to people who need it the most.

And secondly, money raised helps address the root cause of injustice.

We must have empathy and compassion for others. In a world where there is enough for everyone, why do some go to bed hungry at night? Empathizing with others and feeling compassion for their situations are the foundations for “charity begins at home”.

When enough people feel strongly about caring for others, then we not only help out individually (giving, reducing carbon footprint, buying ethically from sustainable companies), we ask our governments for action as well (increasing international aid budgets and supporting international aid commitments).

By experiencing the Ration Challenge, I put myself in another’s shoes for a week, increasing my compassion and empathy. By sharing my experience, I hopefully increase others’ compassion and empathy as well.

World Refugee Day - recipe booklet with refugee stories

Eating Rations

My first reaction, when I opened the tiny box of rations, was sorrow. Tears filled my eyes. It looks like a small amount of food because it IS a small amount of food. The sorrow wasn’t for myself. I felt it for the refugees.

After swapping out my coupons for the additional food, I created a meal plan.

I ate three small meals a day…breakfast, lunch and supper. No snacks, except on Day Three when I experienced gnawing hunger between lunch and supper. I used some of my brown rice and a couple of spoonfuls of flour to create rice cakes that I fried in a small amount of olive oil. Eating two rice cakes satisfied my hunger and I saved the rest for future meals.

Breakfast

Every morning I ate congee, a rice dish made from 1/2 cup of rice and four cups of water. Boiling the rice for 45 minutes to an hour creates a large bowl of soft…some might say mushy…rice. It is very filling and I actually like it.

World Refugee Day congee
Breakfast every day – congee

Lunch

This meal typically consisted of a cup of rice and half a cup of beans or lentils. I measured everything. Even so, by the end of day two I wondered if my food would run out before the week did.

Lunch during Ration Week
A typical lunch during Ration Challenge week

Supper

I increased my food slightly in the evenings. One night I made a soup from one cup of mixed legumes, using the cooking water as broth, and added half a cup of rice. However, most evenings I ate a cup of rice with half a cup of beans or lentils and added a small flatbread or rice cake on the side.

Rice cakes
Rice cakes made from one cup of cooked brown rice and two tablespoons of flour, fried in a little olive oil.

Rewards

During Ration Challenge Week, it’s possible to earn rewards.

Refugees are resourceful and hardworking. Most are not allowed to have jobs, due to countries protecting local job markets. However, they find other ways to provide for their families. Funds from the challenge support livelihood programs in Jordan that help provide a small income for refugees.

The rewards allow participants to earn more food due to their hard work during fundraising.

Making a donation yourself earns an unlimited amount of one spice.

Inviting others to contribute, whether they do or not, earns teabags. Five people invited to donate equals one teabag.

$75 – unlimited salt

$200 – a cup of milk.

$400 – 6 ounces of one vegetable

$600 – 4 ounces of an additional protein.

$800 – canned tomatoes

$1,000 – one hot or cold beverage of choice

I went a bit beyond my goal of $679, earning rewards of cumin, salt, a cup of almond milk, 6 ounces of kale and I added 4 more ounces of red beans as my additional protein. Plus I earned tea for the week.

World Refugee Day kale
I was so excited to add kale to my rations on Day Five.

My Experience

Was the week challenging? Yes, although I really only experienced hunger on Day Three. After that day, my hunger subsided and my small meals sustained me.

However, by Day Five I felt tired. My energy levels were low because my calorie intake was extremely low. I had a slight headache. I took one of my grandsons out for his birthday dinner…and only drank water. It was a valuable teaching moment though as Joey and I discussed what life is like for refugees.

From Day One I expressed gratitude, thankfulness for the food I ate, thankfulness for the goodness of people who care for others. And daily, almost hourly, my thoughts turned again and again to refugees and what they experience.

By Day Seven, I admit I was glad to finish the challenge. Although I like brown rice, after eating rice three times a day for a week, I grew tired of it. But that brought my attention back to the refugees. My challenge week was ending. Their days and weeks go on…and on…and on…often for years. As a result, I’ll eat a meal of rice and beans at least once a week, to remain mindful.

How Others Can Help

I truly am grateful for the experience of the Ration Challenge. And I’m so incredibly thankful for those who contributed to this fundraiser and who left me encouraging notes.

Here are ways you can help:

  • look for refugee owned businesses in your cities and support them
  • watch a documentary on refugees, listen to podcasts, read books…all to learn more about the way they live and the lives they’ve left behind
  • speak up for government policies that support the rights of refugees
  • be mindful of the food you eat by not wasting any of it, by shopping sustainably and by sharing with others when you can
  • become a sustaining partner with CWS and make helping refugees a part of your monthly budget. Even a small amount each month helps such as the cost of a cup of coffee each week or one lunch or dinner out. Sign up here. Or you can make a one time donation on that site as well.

And…join me next year in the Ration Challenge. I want to create a team. Location and distance don’t matter, we connect via the internet and social media. Team up with me so that together, we can do more to help others. If you are interested, let me know in the comments below or send me a message. I’ll contact you next year…I promise!

Goal Met
World Refugee Day – goal met

 

 

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12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri

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I love to travel, for so many reasons. As travel restrictions ease, I have several upcoming trips planned that I’m excited to experience and share about later.

For today, I decided to share about my own hometown, Joplin, Missouri. I’m working with Missouri Tourism on their summer campaign, “Visit MO”. My assignment was to feature a Joplin location. Partnering with them, I’ve deepened my appreciation for my city.

For this fun post, discover 12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri. I enjoyed working on this one and shooting a few new photos. And, I discovered something I didn’t know about my hometown!

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri title meme

Joplin Began as a Mining Town

First settled by the Reverend Harris G Joplin in 1839, lead was discovered in the area before the Civil War. Mining operations were interrupted during the war. However, in 1870 a large lead strike occurred, bringing scores of miners to the area. Mining camps rapidly sprang up. By 1873 the City of Joplin incorporated.

The riches of the mines drew investors and speculators, businesses and dance halls, gambling establishments and brothels.

While lead helped establish the town, it was the discovery of zinc that grew it. Railroads crossed the town, bringing more and more people and businesses. By the turn of the century, Joplin was the hub of Southwest Missouri and the lead and zinc capital of the world.

Most of the mines closed after World War II.

The Story Behind Joplin’s Maiden Lane

Do you enjoy knowing the origins of city street names? Many streets are named after prominent people associated with the city…founders, business men and women, celebrities. Most towns have a Main Street, numbered streets or directional avenues.

Joplin contains  a couple of streets named for the mining operations that founded it: Mineral and Galena. Furnace is named after the first smelting company in town. And others reflect the names of business men or mining companies, such as Rex, Picher, Sergeant and Moffet. We even have a series of streets named after US presidents.

The most colorful story belongs to Maiden Lane, a demure sounding name for a street. However, in Joplin’s wild mining days, this street on the west side of town was so named for being the red light district of Joplin. Brothels supposedly lined the street.

Another possible explanation is that “maiden” refers to horses that have not won a race. Near Maiden Lane was Barbee Park, a horse racing track that operated from 1872 until 1909.

Which story do you prefer?

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri maiden lane
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – Maiden Lane backstory

It Feels Like a Bigger City

With its population of 51,567 as of 2020, Joplin is the 12th most populous city in the state. However, it’s the 5th largest hub in Missouri, with the metro Joplin area coming in at 220,000. People in surrounding towns and nearby states come into Joplin to work, shop and play.

Many visitors are surprised to discover that Joplin feels like a bigger city with two large nationally recognized hospitals and many thriving businesses and restaurants, locally owned and big name franchises. We have a regional airport, a historic downtown district, industries, universities, theaters and a variety of parks and green spaces.

Famous Saloon with a Tunnel

Joplin’s House of Lords, a three story building near the corner of 4th and Main Streets, was the most famous saloon. A bar and restaurant occupied the first floor. Gambling rooms filled the second floor. And the third floor housed a brothel. The House of Lords provided patrons with every kind of vice imaginable.

The owner of the House of Lords constructed a tunnel that connected the saloon to his office at the Joplin Globe, where he was part owner as well.  The tunnel allowed him and other gentlemen to enter the building discreetly.

In 1897, the House of Lords introduced visitors to ragtime piano, played by the great black musician, Scott Joplin. And the establishment helped to launch the artistic career of Thomas Hart Benton.

The House of Lords closed in 1920, with the coming of the prohibition, and the building was later torn down.

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri house of lords
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – House of Lords, most famous saloon

Reign of Terror

During Joplin’s early days, it experienced a reign of terror in 1871 – 1872. As more and more miners arrived in town, lawlessness prevailed. Many of the miners left their families in other towns or states, as they began working in the mines.

They spent their hard earned cash on drinking and entertainment and generally, made merry. The nearest sheriff resided in Carthage, Missouri, about 15 miles away. The lack of law enforcement and the wild excitement of the prospectors resulted in street fights, rowdiness, disorderly conduct and occasionally a shooting.

The reign of terror ended when a miner named JW Lupton disarmed a stranger in town who was causing trouble. Lupton was appointed Joplin’s first constable.

Bonnie and Clyde Lived in Joplin

For a short time, this infamous couple, along with three members of their Barrow Gang, lived in a rental in Joplin.

On April 1, 1933, the gang rented an over the garage apartment in a quiet, affluent neighborhood. The upstairs apartment’s many windows provided vantage points to watch for the approach of law enforcement.

For 13 days the group hid in the apartment while committing a series of robberies in Missouri and neighboring states. Their unusual activities drew suspicion from the neighbors.

On April 13, 1933, police arrived, expecting to find bootleggers. Instead, a furious shootout occurred. Joplin police detective Harry McGinnis and Newton County Constable John Wesley Harryman lost their lives.

Bonnie and Clyde, Buck and Blanche and WD escaped, however they left all of their belongings behind. Police discovered a camera and undeveloped rolls of film. The circulated photos from those film canisters allowed law enforcement officers across the lower US to see what the outlaws looked like and resulted in the eventual capture or death of all of the gang.

I enjoyed an overnight stay at the Bonnie and Clyde Apartment in Joplin last year. Read about it HERE.

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri bonnie and clyde apartment
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – Bonnie and Clyde apartment living room

Four State Area

Joplin is in Southwest Missouri, in what’s called the “four state area”. The Kansas and Oklahoma state lines are minutes from Joplin. And Arkansas is a 30 minute drive south.

People drive to Joplin for shopping, doctors’ appointments and dining from the small towns in those other states. Additionally, Joplin is a hub for the smaller towns surrounding it. The nearest large city is Springfield, Missouri, an hour’s drive to the east.

Route 66 Crosses Through Town

Also known as the Main Street of American or the Mother Road, Route 66 is one of America’s original highways. It was established on November 11, 1926. It originally ran from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before terminating in Santa Monica, California…2,448 miles of highway.

Route 66 was officially removed from the US Highway System in 1985. However, the segments that remain are designated a National Scenic Byway and currently called “Historic Route 66”.

Route 66 runs east to west through Joplin, along our 7th Street. There’s a mural located near the corner of 7th and Main Streets that provides a fun photo opp.

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri route 66
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – Route 66 runs through the city. Stop at this mural near 7th and Main Streets for a photo opp.

Joplin’s Nicknames

Like most cities and towns, Joplin has nicknames. Two common ones are J-Town and JoMo. MO, of course, is the abbreviation for Missouri.

Hit by an EF5 Tornado

May 22, 2011 is a date Joplin residents will never forget. At 5:41 on a Sunday afternoon, a massive EF5 tornado struck. Thirty percent of the city was destroyed, including thousands of homes and businesses, and 161 people lost their lives. It was the deadliest tornado in the US since 1947 and the most costly in history with 2.8 billion in damages.

I experienced that tornado, as did several family members. Looking at photos this evening, my body still reacts to what happened that day and I still feel sorrow.

I’m grateful to say that today, ten years later, Joplin is mostly recovered. There are still vacant lots in neighborhoods and businesses that never rebuilt. However, I saw my community come together and become stronger than before. And I witnessed the amazing compassion of others as thousands of volunteers arrived to help clean up the devastation.

There are memorials and reminders of that day throughout Joplin. We are strong. And we will never forget those we lost.

EF5 tornado
Whole neighborhoods were obliterated by the tornado. Photo by Keith Myers, from the book Joplin 5:41

Joplin Motto

I just learned Joplin’s motto today, and I’ve lived here for almost 41 years.

“The city that Jack built.”

Jack is a slang term for the mineral sphalerite (ZnS). It is the main mineral found in zinc, the element that put Joplin on the map. It’s a fitting motto!

Largest Continually Flowing Waterfall in Missouri

Just south of Joplin is Grand Falls, the largest continually flowing waterfall in the state. These gorgeous falls cascade over a 163 foot wide ledge of chert rock, plunging 12 feet into Shoal Creek. A must see for anyone in the area, the craggy outcropping of chert next to the falls creates pools of water and miniature waterfalls that invite all visitors to splash, play and explore.

Chert is a type of rock unique to Missouri. Joplin has the largest existing chert glades in the world.

The chert and falls create a beautiful nature area that is perfect for picnics, hiking, swimming, meditating or simply watching the sun rise or set.

This is the Joplin location featured in Missouri’s “Visit MO” campaign. Take their fun quiz to discover your perfect “M-O” destination.

Grand Falls near Joplin MO
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – Grand Falls, largest waterfall in MO

Exploring in My Own City

Putting together this post about my city inspires me to get out and explore Joplin more this summer. After more than a year of mostly staying close to home, literally, it feels good to get out and learn new things about interesting places, starting with Joplin.

I especially enjoyed snapping photos and seeing familiar locations with fresh eyes.

I hope you learned something new about Joplin, Missouri. And that you feel inspired to explore your own community.

Tell me where you live, in the comments below!

Joplin Tornado Memorial
One of the tornado memorials, located in Cunningham Park.

Joplin Mementos

 


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Lemyka Science Focused Skincare

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

Thank you to Lemkya Skincare for sending product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I am serious about my skincare. My daily morning and evening skincare routines are performed with dedication.

Because I have sensitive skin, I’m also serious about what I use to cleanse, nurture and protect it.

The products I use must be cruelty free, plant based and preferably fragrance free. Lemyka Science Focused Skincare products check all those boxes…and more!

Lemyka Science Focused Skincare title meme

Lemyka Science Focused Skincare

Founded in 2010, the Lemyka Team has over 30 years of accumulated skincare experience.

The team consists of moms and scientists who dedicate themselves to creating natural remedies for you and your family.

The company offers safe and clean face and body care products for adults and children. Their skincare line soothes and heals common skin conditions such as drool rash, eczema, psoriasis and acne, without any side effects.

Lemyka’s Standards

Lemyka’s top priority is ensuring that their products are free from toxins and irritants by using high quality natural and organic ingredients. The company’s skincare products do not contain parabens, steroids, fragrances, dyes or harsh chemicals.

They go beyond by testing for heavy metals and harmful microbials to ensure that high quality.

They also contribute to a better world, using sustainable practices and recyclable packaging. Their products are vegan and cruelty free. In addition, they are community minded, donating to local communities to support education for future generations.

Lemyka Science Focused Skincare healing lotion
Lemyka Science Focused Skincare – Healing Lotion

The Science Behind Lemyka

Lemyka focuses on soothing and healing common skin conditions.

The four focuses:

  • skin hydration
  • skin barrier restoration
  • itch and irritation relief
  • skin healing

Skin hydration is important, especially for those with conditions such as eczema. Lemyka’s steroid free lotions and creams restore the skin barrier and keep skin moisturized without leaving it feeling greasy. Their cutting edge technology helps skin hold moisture for up to 48 hours.

Lemyka Products

Lemyka offers a variety of skincare products for babies, children, teens and adults.

Products include their eczema therapy line, for babies and adults, ultra gentle foaming cleanser, gentle hair & body multipurpose wash and their fragrance free natural baby lotion.

They offer a non-greasy, fragrance free mineral sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF 30+ protection that’s ideal for babies and children. And it looks perfect for me, with my super sensitive skin!

And I’m intrigued by a Pain Relief Comfort Cream with healing menthol, aloe vera and ginger extracts.

Lemyka Science Focused SkincareLemyka Science Focused Skincare – Ultra Gentle Foaming Cleanser

My Experience with Lemyka Products

I received the Healing Lotion and the Ultra Gentle Foaming Cleanser. After a couple of weeks of use, here are my thoughts.

Healing Lotion

The Healing Lotion is perfect for soothing and healing dry, itchy skin rashes and irritations, whether due to allergic reactions, eczema, heat, sunburn, bug bites, contact dermatitis or rosacea.

The fragrance free lotion contains a blend of vitamin E, aloe vera, chamomile, and nourishing plant oils. It quickly relieves itching and inflammation while refreshing and restoring skin.

I received this product at the right time. When I garden, I wear long sleeves and pants to protect my skin. As much as I love growing plants, brushing bare skin against grasses or weeds causes an instant allergic reaction.

I wore long sleeves, on the day I received the Healing Lotion, however they weren’t tight enough around my wrists. By the time I entered my house, both forearms sported rashes, hives and welts that not only itched, they burned.

What an ideal situation for trying the Healing Lotion. I washed both arms, to rinse away irritants, and then applied the lotion liberally. Check out the before and after photos below! Within 15 minutes, my arms cleared up and the pain and itching were gone. Typically that rash lasts for hours and it’s almost impossible not to scratch it and make it worse.

Allergic reaction
Taken outside. Allergic reaction from pulling weeds.
Healed skin.
Taken indoors, 15 minutes after applying Lemyka Healing Lotion.

Ongoing Experience with Lemyka Healing Lotion

Here’s the great part about using the Lemkyka Healing Lotion. Not only does it quickly soothe my itchy, inflamed skin after an allergic reaction, it’s lessening the reaction.

I’ve continued to apply the lotion to my arms, after showering and before going to bed. It’s a great moisturizer.

Today, while watering in the garden, I pulled some weeds. Suddenly I realized I didn’t have long sleeves on and with alarm, looked at my arms. I didn’t break out. No rash, no burning and itching, no inflammation. Just healthy, clear skin. That’s truly amazing.

Ultra Gentle Foaming Cleanser

Specially formulated for sensitive and dry skin types, this facial wash is an incredibly gentle cleanser, removing makeup or dirt without irritating or drying out the skin.

The cleanser is pH balanced (5.5) and creates a creamy foam from plant based ingredients such as aloe vera, geranium, algae, calendula and chamomile extracts.

It is completely free of sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, parabens and artificial colors and dyes.

I love this product. The lightweight foaming cleanser is easy to apply and rinses away cleanly, leaving my skin so soft, smooth and moisturized.

Lemyka Science Focused Skincare foaming cleanser
Lemyka Science Focused Skincare – foaming cleanser

Ongoing Experience Using Lemyka Ultra Gentle Foaming Cleanser

Bonus benefits! I add a dollop of the foaming cleanser to the palm of my hand, use my hands to lather it over my face, then rinse by splashing cool water over my face…with my hands.

Guess what?

My hands have soft, smooth, healthy skin as well. And my hands take a lot of abuse. I garden, getting my hands dirty and creating calluses from handling gardening tools. Plus I’m frequently washing a dish or scrubbing a countertop with household cleaners. The skin on my hands dries out and even peels from all the contact with water and cleaning products.

I noticed a few days ago that my hands felt smooth and soft and looked healthy. Plus, when I apply the Healing Lotion on my arms, I finish by rubbing the last bit into my hands. It’s a win/win.

Get Your Lemyka Products

I highly recommend Lemyka Skincare products. Both the Healing Lotion and the Ultra Gentle Foaming Cleansers are now part of my daily skincare routine. I’ll continue to use both. And I look forward to trying the sunscreen and other Lemyka products.

If you appreciate natural, cruelty free, high quality skincare products, check out Lemyka’s website HERE.

Under their Beginner’s Guide section, they have convenient bundles that make taking care of  your skin, or your baby’s skin, easier. Click on the product photos for a helpful step by step guide to making your skin the best that it can be!

And let me know which product you try!

Clean, soft skin.
Lemyka Science Focused Skincare – clean, soft, nourished skin.

 

 

Father’s Day Traditions Around the World

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

As Father’s Day approaches, I followed my curiosity to see what other countries do to honor their dads.

The result is this post, Father’s Day Traditions Around the World.

Have fun reading about other customs and perhaps choosing a few to add to Dad’s special day on June 20.

Father’s Day Traditions Around the World Title Meme

Thailand

Father’s Day in Thailand is celebrated on December 5, the birthday of King Bhumidol Adulyadej. He is considered the Father of the Nation. Traditionally, children wear yellow as they present canna flowers to their fathers.

United States

The third Sunday in June is Father’s Day in the US. It celebrates the contributions fathers and father figures make to their children’s lives.

Common customs in the US include gifts, either handmade or purchased, cards, outings or dinner with the family. The first Father’s Day, inspired by the work of Sonora Smart Dodd, occurred in June, 1910. However, President Johnson made the proclamation declaring Father’s Day the third Sunday in June. And President Nixon made the holiday official in 1972.

Fathers Day Traditions Around the World US
Father’s Day Traditions Around the World – US

Russia

Russia’s Father’s Day began as a military commemoration known as Defender of the Fatherland Day. Soldiers received honor as they marched in parades throughout the country.

Now all men are celebrated on this day, which is February 23. Women give gifts to the important men in their lives.

Germany

Vaterag, or Father’s Day, is celebrated in Germany in connection with Mannerag…Man’s Day. On this fun day, men gather and spend the day together hiking, biking and drinking. It’s common to fill a wagon with beer and head out while the wives stay home with the children.

This event takes place on the sixth Sunday after Easter.

Germany's Father Day
Father’s Day Traditions Around the World – Germany

Nepal

In late summer the Nepalese celebration of Gokarna Aunsi honors fathers. Children give gifts to their dads. And a ceremony is performed. Sons bow, touching their heads to their father’s feet. Daughters touch their heads to their father’s hands.

Finland

The second Sunday in November is Father’s Day in Finland. Fathers sleep in and enjoy a favorite breakfast in bed, prepared by their children. Finnish schools offer cakes and coffee to all dads on the Friday before Father’s Day.

Breakfast in bed for dad
Father’s Day Traditions Around the World – Finland

Mexico

Father’s Day falls on the third Sunday in June. Fathers participate in a 21 kilometer race. Families also gather for feasts that honor dads, with sweet bread as dessert.

Japan

Japan also celebrates dads on the third Sunday in June. Japanese children gift their fathers with flowers, handmade beer glasses and sweets. The celebratory meal is usually seafood such as crab or prawns.

Father's Day Traditions Around the world beer glass
Father’s Day Traditions Around the World – Japan

Brazil

Brazilians celebrate dads on the second Sunday in August, in honor of St. Joachim, the father of Mary and the patron saint of fathers and grandfathers. Children give gifts to their fathers. And the family gathers for food, fun and relaxation.

France

La Fete des Peres is held on the third Sunday in June. The holiday supposedly originated in the mid-20th century when an ad campaign suggested lighters as the perfect gift for dads.

Lighters for Father's Day in France
Father’s Day Traditions Around the World – France

What Are Your Father’s Day Traditions?

Sadly, my father passed away 11 years ago. I still spend the day thinking about him and remembering the fun Father’s Day cookouts we used to have.

I’ll take my stepdad out to dinner and present gifts to my son and son-in-law, who is celebrating as a first time daddy this year.

I find Germany’s custom of allowing the dads to have a fun day to themselves fascinating! That’s an amazing gift. I checked to see what German mothers receive on Mother’s Day. Children often gift Mom a trip. I’m liking these German traditions!

If you still need gift idea for the fathers in your life, check out this post. It’s not too late to surprise Dad with one of these unique presents.

How do you celebrate Father’s Day with your dad?

Father's Day Traditions Around the World end photo

 

Additional Gift Ideas for Dad from Amazon


 

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Travel Securely With a Battpak

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

Thank you to OCTAVE for sending me the Battpak for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

As travel restrictions ease, I’m so excited to venture out again. While I’ll remain within the US for my first two trips, I hope to travel to Scotland before year’s end.

This year, I intend to experience solo travel. I enjoy traveling with others. And I’m also looking forward to discovering how I do on my own, setting my own pace, following where my heart leads me.

Exploring on my own is one of the reasons I’m thrilled about this new product. I can travel securely with a Battpak.

Travel Securely With a Battpak title meme

When You Need a Charge

When my sister and I traveled to Scotland in 2019, I borrowed a portable battery charger from my son-in-law. How convenient it was to pop that battery pack in my purse and set off to wander the streets of Edinburgh.

I rely on my phone for taking photos and sending texts and looking up info while I explore. The last thing I want is for my phone to die while I’m away from my plug in charger.

I discovered how easy it was to connect my phone to the portable battery and drop both into my purse while I walked or rode on the hop on/hop off bus. It kept my phone ready to snap photos and prevented an unwanted return trip to the apartment in the middle of the day, to charge my phone.

Now…what if I could carry just ONE item that took the place of my wallet and purse and battery charger, while I’m out adventuring? That would be super convenient, right?

Travel Securely With a Battpak charging
Travel Securely With a Battpak – charging my phone

Travel Securely With a Battpak

The Battpak by OCTAVE is perfect for the traveler. It’s also ideal for the parent who has his or her hands busy with kids while out on family adventures. And it’s the right item to take along to concerts, festivals or museums.

It’s a portable battery charger, first of all, with a high quality 10,000 mAh battery for charging cell phones quickly and efficiently. The Battpak has a custom pcba circuit board for universal charging and USB and USB type-C outputs plus a USB type-C input.

A handstitched vegan leather cover surrounds the fire retardant polycarbonate housing. The pack is slightly bigger than my iPhone Plus, making it simple to slip into a pocket, backpack or purse.

Those stats make this battery charger a superior product. And yet…there’s more. It’s the surprise feature that makes this charger so unique.

Travel Securely With a Battpak cord
Travel Securely With a Battpak – unit and charging cord

Secret Compartment

What I love about the Battpak is the secret compartment within.

Drop the Battpak or toss it onto a table and it’s not going to open. There’s a trick to opening the unit. It’s not difficult to get into, however someone who happened to pick it up would not realize there is a compartment inside.

Pop open the Battpak and discover the security this portable charger provides.

Inside is a roomy wallet for credit cards, money, keys or papers. There are pockets to tuck cards into. And a strap to hold straws, folded money or any other small item that you might want to take along on your journeys.

The deeper compartment with the sleek metal tray allows room for bigger items such as keys, tins with ibuprofen. a pen or a charging cord.

For an afternoon out with the kids or a full day of exploring a new city, the Battpak is the perfect take along item.

Travel Securely With a Battpak compartment
Travel Securely With a Battpak – secret compartment

Get Your Battpak

The Battpak makes a wonderfully thoughtful gift for Father’s Day. It’s also a special birthday or holiday gift for the traveler in your family or for the adventurous parents who enjoy hiking with their kids.

This convenient battery charger/travel safe means you can charge up your phone ANYWHERE and stash your important items while on the go.

You can get your Battpak from the company website HERE. Use my code, CINDY15 for 15% off of your order.

I’ve used the Battpak at home to charge my phone. It works so well.

However, I’m especially excited to take it with me on upcoming trips. I like the idea of dropping my cell phone in one pocket and the Battpak in another as I set out to explore. There’s no purse dangling off of my shoulder, for someone to snag as they trot by. I’ll tuck some cash, a card and a cord in the Battpak, along with any other necessities I might need. And I’ll feel secure.

That sense of security allows me to focus on what’s important…taking in the sights around me, snapping photos and soaking up new experiences.

Where will you go with your Battpak? I’ll share my first destination…soon!

Charge your phone anywhere