Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated

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

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

I don’t know about you, but with the extreme winter weather we just experienced, I’m ready for spring! The actual change of seasons doesn’t happen for almost a month. However, with the arrival of my Decocrated Spring Box, I made the switch indoors.

I love spring. It’s a time of fresh beginnings and renewal after a long winter sleep. My garden begins to stir and the trees bud. Such subtle changes signal that it’s time to freshen up my home decor as well.

I’m happy to spring into renewal with Decocrated and create fresh vignettes. See what I’ve done so far.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated title meme

Decocrated Spring 2021 Box

After a winter overshadowed by the continuing pandemic and record cold temperatures, it felt so refreshing to reset my home decor this week. As if conspiring with me, warm sunshine filtered through the blinds in my big windows, making the day seem warmer than it actually was.

What a great time shaking off the winter blues as I played with the new spring pieces from this amazing subscription box.

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

The spring 2021 box features wildflowers and sentimental pieces that stir memories of springs past. The colors are soft and finishes included white washed wood and cherry wood.

This season’s featured artist is Kim Nevo, who hails from Miami, Florida. Kim’s travels inspire her art.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated unboxing
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – the unboxing. To watch the video, click HERE.

Creating Fresh Vignettes

I focused on refreshing five areas in my home, creating spring vignettes. I’m still working on a couple of new areas that I’ll share later.

Check out how I used my new spring 2021 pieces.

Cozy Corner

In one corner of my vintage sofa, I’ve created a cozy spot for reading and sipping on a cup of hot tea, no matter what the season. Honestly, I’m that person who covers up with a blanket, with the air conditioning running!

In this area, what’s new for the season is the spring floral lumbar pillow. I love the vintage looking design featuring flowers, herbs and insects. The pillowcase reverses to a soft robin egg blue side.

I paired the new pillowcase with the summer case, with features a sunny yellow design on one side and a tweedy finish on the other. I love the tweed with the spring design. The soft lightweight green throw is from the winter 2019 box. It’s perfect for all seasons.

The metal and wood tray arrived the winter 2019 box. I use that practical, pretty tray year around. Keeping with the garden theme, I plopped a couple of gardening books on the tray and topped them with a cute miniature metal watering can that my grandkids gifted to me.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated cozy corner
Spring into renewal with Deocrated – cozy corner

Tall Dining Room Bookcase

The top two shelves of the wooden bookcase in the dining room received make overs as well.

The top shelf retained the wooden lantern from the Decocrated Christmas box and the woven basket and “Our Happy Place” tabletop sign from the fall box. New are the spring botanical prints hanging on the wall. I love the simplicity and beauty of the framed prints. Aren’t they perfect?

Although there are no Decocrated pieces on the second shelf, the decor serves to show how easy it is to mix and match the sub box pieces with items I already own. That darling print in the white frame is actually a birthday card I received this year from Greg’s cousin. I love it…and her thoughtfulness.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated happy place
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – happy place

Dining Room Table

My favorite place to create vignettes, the small round dining table gets a completely new vignette, thanks to the Decocrated spring 2021 box.

I absolutely adore the WOODEN table runner! What a unique and fun decor piece. It’s sturdy, holding an assortment of items on the softly patterned surface.

Left Side of Wooden Table Runner

On the left is a clip frame, holding the postcard sized art print from the spring 2021 box. The print reverses to a soft pink print. I’m so excited about the clip frame! It’s perfect for all the art prints I’ve received in the last year+ from Decocrated.

Two of the four wooden village pieces from winter 2020 complete this end of the runner.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated postcard art
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – clip frame and postcard art

Right Side

On the right is the new spring planter. Made from metal with a wooden stand, it’s such a wonderful container to tuck a living plant into or to hold an artificial arrangement. I left my variegated ivy in a plastic flower pot and just dropped it into the planter.

The stack of wooden books, tied with beaded twine, inspires with the words “collect beautiful moments”. I almost always use a stack of actual books when creating vignettes. Decocrated included this wonderful set in the spring box.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated planter
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – spring planter and stack of wooded books


Hot Tea Bar and Small Bookcase

Although these next two areas do not contain pieces from the spring 2021 box, the vignettes are full of previous items from Decocrated.

I continue to enjoy the hot tea bar. Every afternoon and most mornings, year around, I enjoy a cup of hot herbal tea. I love the convenience and fun of maintaining a hot tea bar. During the cold winter months I add hot chocolate as well.

I packed away the winter decor and introduced spring to the tea bar with mostly blue and green pieces. The pink, light blue and yellow ceramic containers hold tea bags and the last of my Four Sigmatic hot cocoa.

The tall ceramic trees arrived in the winter 2019 box while the remaining two village pieces and the wooden perpetual calendar came in the winter 2020 box.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated hot tea bar
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – hot tea bar

Small Bookcase

And the small bookcase in the space between dining room and living room houses a variety of pieces, each from a different season!

Framed wall print is a winter 2020 item. The tabletop print “there may be no thing greater than a life well loved” arrived winter 2019. Next to it, the faux succulents came in the summer 2020 box while the black metal lantern is from last spring. And the pair of black lanterns are actually Halloween 2020 pieces.

I truly do enjoy mixing and matching the Decocrated items with what I have on hand. In fact, everything I used for this spring arrived via Decocrated boxes or I already owned it. It’s so fun to play with the pieces and see what I have that combine to create vignettes that tell my stories.

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated small bookcase
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – small bookcase

Get Your Own Decocrated Seasonal Box

Do you enjoy home decor? If so, you will love this subscription box that delivers fun, versatile pieces right to your front door.

Click this link for the Decocrated Spring Box, and use this discount code for $10 off the price of your first box:  CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10 

Or use CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE30 to receive $30 off a yearly subscription. Once you are a member, there are additional items that can be purchased from the online shop, and special boxes available too, like Easter, Halloween and Christmas.

Have fun welcoming spring into your home!

Spring Into Renewal with Decocrated dining table
Spring into renewal with Decocrated – dining room table vignette


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

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre

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Have you heard of Cinque Terre, the cluster of five Italian villages clinging to the mountains along the coast? All I knew about this region in northwestern Italy came from photos I’d seen of the colorful houses in the villages. So when my grandson listed Cinque Terre as one of his “must see” destinations, for our 2017 trip to Italy, we made sure our tour included a stop here.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend a day exploring the largest of the five villages. This gorgeous area offers visitors a peek into the laid back lifestyle that many Italians enjoy.

Discover these fun facts about Cinque Terre.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre title meme

Origin of the Name

The Italian words cinque terre translates to “five lands”. These five lands are the five villages perched on the mountains along the coast. They are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. The largest village is the last one, Monterosso.

The entire region is a national park. And in 1997 it became a protected UNESCO World Heritage site.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre villages
Fun facts about Cinque Terre – the village of Manarola

Cinque Terre is a Car Free Zone

Cars are not allowed in the villages of Cinque Terre. Instead villagers and visitors travel by boat, train or on foot.

We arrived in Monterosso via boat, leaving from the town of La Spezia. Our tour guide, Andrea, shared interesting local stories as we chugged along the coastline.

And we departed Monterosso on board a sleek train that passed through rocky mountainous tunnels.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre La Spezia
Fun facts about Cinque Terre – arrive by boat, train or on foot

Cinque Terre Is a Relatively New Tourist Destination

Only the Italians knew about the wonders of Cinque Terre, until the 1970s. An American journalist visited and fell in love with the region. After he included the villages in a guidebook, other visitors arrived to explore Cinque Terra too. It’s now an extremely popular destination.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre Italian coast
Fun facts about Cinque Terre – an American journalist drew attention to the location. This is Port Venere, a town on the way to Cinque Terre.

The Water is a Beautiful Color

The brilliant aquamarine water in the village bays provides a stunning contrast for the colorful houses on the mountains. The protected harbors shelter a rich variety of marine life, including anchovies, which is a Cinque Terre specialty.

Four of the five villages offer sandy beaches to enjoy those waters and catch some sun too.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre monterosso bay
Fun facts about Cinque Terre – the water is a gorgeous aquamarine color

You Must Sample the Pesto

The herb basil grows in abundance in the Cinque Terre region. It’s used in many locally prepared dishes, even gelato! Dining in a little ristorante in one of the villages is a must, especially when the meal features freshly made pasta and basil pesto.

I enjoyed basil pesto over gluten free pasta for lunch in Monterosso. It remains the best pesto I’ve ever had.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre pesto
Fun facts about Cinque Terre – they serve an amazing basil pesto

The Houses are Pastel Colors

All of those charming houses, perched on the mountainsides, are painted pastel colors. When the sun sets, the light washes over those soft hues, creating photo worthy moments. The reason for the color choices connects to fishermen out to sea. From his distant vantage point, a fisherman could identify his house based on the color.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre monterosso
Fun facts about Cinque Terre – the pastel houses of Monterosso

Cinque Terre’s Most Popular Product

Cinque Terre villagers grow grapes in the steeply terraced vineyards. The difficult cultivation earns wine makers the name “heroic viticulturalists”.  Their hard work produces an incredible white wine called Sciacchetra that’s dry and somewhat sweet. Due to the limited space, only a few thousand bottles are produced each year.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terra - vineyards
Fun facts about Cinque Terre – incredible white wine

Cat Lady Paradise

Cinque Terre is considered a cat haven. Every village hosts semi-stray cats that hang around the seafront. And cats lounge outside every seafood cafe and shop, hoping for a treat from fishermen cleaning their catch. Locals leave dry cat food in covered bins with signs asking people to refill empty dishes.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre cat
Fun facts about Cinque Terre – cat haven

Add Cinque Terre to Your Travel List

My daughter, grandson and I loved our day in Monterosso. After beginning our trip in Rome, we welcomed the slower pace in Cinque Terre. Each of us fell under the spell of this relaxed coastal region. We waded in the Mediterranean, wandered narrow streets, visited tiny shops and dined on the freshest foods in a homey ristorante. Truly, I could spend weeks exploring all five villages.

I hope you learned something new about Cinque Terre. And that this jewel in Italy makes your travel list.

Fun Facts About Cinque Terre Elissa and Dayan
My daughter and grandson enjoying time in Cinque Terre

Check out these Cinque Terre finds from Amazon:


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Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads

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Earlier this month I discovered, to my delight, that February is Spunky Old Broads Month. Never heard of this unique holiday? Check out the post about it HERE.

I love everything about this celebration of women over the age of 50. It meshes well with my Year of the Wild Woman. I’ve reflected daily on what it means to live this part of my life as a spunky old broad. And I quickly realized I’ve been living as one since my early 50s, without the awareness of the special day and month.

Expanding on the very last section in my previous post on this topic, here are soulful activities for spunky old broads living a “no regrets” lifestyle.

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads title meme

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads

I like the word “soulful”. It’s defined as the process of expressing deep feelings and emotions. A soulful person is one who shows compassion and depth of understanding. Because spunky women value living authentic lives I felt the word “soulful” better fit the list of activities, rather than a word like “fun”.

There are so many soulful activities for spunky old broads. Consider these  just an invitation to engage joyfully!

Meaningful Routines that Support You

Have you heard of Jen Hatmaker? She is just shy of 50, however she’s well on her way to spunkiness. Recently Jen shared how valuable her morning and evening routines are. Strangely, I’m an odd cross between spontaneity and routines. My morning and evening routines are vital to me also.

Routines quickly become second nature and they absolutely must support who you are.

Here are a few of mine, as examples. Morning routines include making my bed as soon as I get out of it, brushing my teeth, my start-of-day skin care and prepping celery juice and a fruit smoothie. My favorite morning routine is opening all the wooden blinds covering the windows, to let the light in. It’s my way of saying “welcome” to the new day.

Night routines include turning on lamps in my bedroom as it gets dark, turning down the bed, taking a probiotic and thoroughly cleansing and moisturizing my face and neck.

What starts your day off right? And how can you pamper yourself a bit at night?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads routines
Soulful activities for spunky old broads – meaningful routines

Devote Time Daily to Something New

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try or learn? Now is the time to do new things! Enjoying new experiences helps keep the brain sharp by creating new pathways. Beyond that, it’s fun.

Want to paint? Take voice lessons? Learn to ride a motorcycle? Spend time everyday on this new activity. Just make sure it feeds the soul and brings joy to the heart.

Trying new experiences resulted in the launch of this blog in 2014. Last year, I decided to take a travel blogging class (this one) and take blogging in some new directions. I love the doors that are swinging open, as a result.

What new experience or lesson do you want to devote time to?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads something new
Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads – something new. Read this travel post HERE. I just did and tears came to my eyes. Now I’m processing why…

Meet New Spunky Old Broads

One of the fun aspects of this sisterhood is connecting with other like-minded, like-hearted souls. Due to COVID, the best way to find other spunky ladies is through online groups. Search for “spunky old broads” on Facebook or Instagram. I typed the words in Facebook’s search bar and located several groups and pages.

Also, live as your spunky self. Other spunky women will gravitate toward you, naturally. Find your tribe….or your tribe will find you.

I had the pleasure of meeting a spunky sister in 2018. We connected on Facebook first. Then we met in person. What fun to share a meal and laugh and chat. Marva is a wonderfully warm and authentic person who follows where her heart leads and does much to help others. Check out her Insight peer support group on Facebook.

Is there a spunky old broad you’d love to get to know better?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads connect
Soulful activities for spunky old broads – connect

Up Your Health Level

Spunky old broads need energy to accomplish all that they want to do. Up your health level. Fuel the body with highly nutritious foods and avoid  foods that are overly processed and full of sugar, additives and chemicals. Pay attention to any sensitivities that arise, such as to gluten or dairy products. Nothing motivates health changes as much as the desire to do something fun, like travel, play with grandkids or live a longer life!

I upped my health level for two reasons: 20 years of chronic pain and inflammation were sending me into a wheelchair and I wanted to take my grandson to Italy as a high school graduation gift.

Nothing has impacted me as positively as adopting a healthier lifestyle, in my case, a plant based one. I have the health and the energy to BE a spunky old broad. Learn more about my health journey at Journey With Healthy Me.

Is your health supporting all that you want to do?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads energy
Soulful activities for spunky old broads – up health level

Play More

Oh, to play as we did as children. Why does playing tend to stop as we get older?

Play is such an important aspect of spunkiness. It unleashes creativity, inspires big ideas and invites others to tap into their inner children. Often play pushes us beyond comfort zones as well, which is a good thing.

I love making up my own games to play. The 63 Curious Things to Do for my 63rd Birthday is such a game. In the last couple of years I’ve made blanket forts, picked up coloring again and created a variety of activity based games. Playing bypasses logic and frees spontaneity and joy.

When was the last time you had fun, playing?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads play
Soulful activities for spunky old broads – play

Be a Role Model for Others

When others observe your spunkiness, it’s an invitation to delve into their own. Be especially mindful of the younger women and the girls in your family.

This is a “teach by example” lifestyle. Be your delightful self. And know that doing so inspires others to figure out who they are. Joy and fun and spunkiness are contagious, to those who want to catch them. I know that the women in my family inspired me just by living their lives.

Although my desire is to be an example to all of my grandchildren…four grandsons and two granddaughters…I especially want the girls to grow up secure in who they are. Modeling a fiercely strong yet spunky life is the best way that I can encourage them to be who they are, to create big ideas and big plans, and to never play small to please another.

Who is watching you and learning by your example?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads mentor
Soulful activities for spunky old broads – be an example to the girls in the family. Granddaughters Aubrey and Finley.

Explore New Places

Exploring new places is a fun activity for this spunky old broads. I’m a mix of spunky meets wild woman with a gypsy heart. It’s in my DNA to wander.

However, there are many landscapes to explore including the ever so important one within. Start there, I’d suggest. Explore and go into those musty, closed off spaces in the soul. You might find a surprise or two there.

If traveling abroad…when such travel is possible again…isn’t exciting to you, explore your own country, your own city, your own neighborhood. Wandering a never before explored street makes my heart sing. And lately I’ve enjoyed day long road trips to new places within 100 miles from home. We learn so much about ourselves when we allow curiosity to guide our feet down paths unknows.

What new location is calling to you?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads explore
Soulful activities for spunky old broads – explore new places. This is Venice, Italy.

Bust Out of Your Comfort Zone

Spunky women are brave and adventurous. They don’t live in fear, stay within comfort zones or remain captive to limiting beliefs. And yet, I did, for most of my life.

I didn’t enter my 50s with an excited whoop and a determination to adopt spunkiness. I cautiously sidled into that decade, nearly invisible. What I ultimately experienced was a growing desire to free myself of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. The “want to” developed into “must”. My life changed in remarkable ways 10 years ago when I faced down my fears, stepped beyond my comfort zones and eliminated limiting beliefs.

Creativity flourished again. And the first signs of spunkiness showed up. Living life beyond the edges…that’s what I do now.

I frequently challenge myself to keep going beyond the edges so that I face new fears that pop up or old ones that try to sneak back in, so that comfort zones feel uncomfortable and limiting beliefs too confining. Three years ago I spent four days in an Airbnb house alone, knowing the experience would trigger old fears. It did. And I left that house with newfound freedom.

Do you feel trapped by fears, comfort zones and/or limiting beliefs? What needs to shift?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads go beyond
Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads – go beyond, even when it feels scary to do so

Find Your Style

Do you dress the way you want to, or the way others expect you to dress? What’s your fashion style? I’m still figuring this one out. Working primarily from home, I favor comfy clothes such a hoodies, leggings and fuzzy socks.

And yet…my soul is drawn more to bohemian style clothing. I rarely wear dresses and skirts…and yet…I bought the green linen skirt in the photo below with a flowy white cotton blouse and a lightweight shawl while in Italy. My carry on could barely contain 12 days worth of clothes and essentials without adding an outfit to the mix. But I couldn’t leave those clothes behind.

Many older women feel they must dress a certain way, suitable for their age. And while purple tops and red hats are fine if that’s what you love, it’s not the only style available for spunky broads. I keep my hair long. And I know, deep in my soul, what I really want to wear. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about my fashion style…or about yours either.

What’s your style?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads style
Soulful activities for spunky old broads – find your fashion style

Take a Fun Class or Better Yet Teach One

Is there a class you want to take? A skill you want to learn? Take that class! Choices are unlimited online. Truly, it’s never too late to learn something new.

And, even better, offer to teach a class. If you specialize in an area, subject or skill, teach others. Have fun with it. Let your spunky self shine.

I frequently indulge my curiosity by taking online classes…mostly free…or picking up books on the topic at the public library. I’ve also taught many types of classes from kids’ learning styles to writing curriculum for children to real estate classes to meditation and health classes.

What would you love to learn more about? And what can you teach to others?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads teach
Soulful activities for spunky old broads – take a class or teach one

Determine Your Big Why

To stay in alignment with who you are and what you are doing, determine your big why. The big why is more than a goal. It’s something that changes your life or others’ lives or feeds your soul deeply. It’s your purpose for doing what you do.

Knowing your big why provides motivation however it also is a checkpoint to keep you from straying off into unimportant projects. You may have many big whys throughout life.

Find your current big why by writing down what you want on a piece of paper or white board. Then write why you want that, and why you want THAT and so on until you uncover the biggest reason why.

I started with “I want to travel” and moved to “I want to work remotely from anywhere in the world and earn a magnificent income.” By checking in to see why I wanted those things, I eventually discovered it’s about more than the freedom to travel. My big why? “I want to take my children and grandchildren on trips and introduce them to the wonders of the world, other cultures and other people.”

What’s your big why?

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads big why
Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads – big why

Write Out Positive Affirmations about Aging

Let’s get real. Many women have negative thoughts about the aging process. Why else spend a fortune trying NOT to look like we fall into the age 50+ age group?

Satchel Paige says, “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

How can you allow yourself to accept that aging is not only natural but inevitable? Or better yet, to affirm who you are without focusing so much on a number?

One way is to write out positive affirmations and post them where you can see them and read them every day.

Always use “I am…”.

“I am a spunky old broad” is a great start. Or, “I am living my best life.” “I am healthy and happy.” You get the idea.

I created my own affirmation calendar, made from a spiral bound deck of index cards. On each card is an affirmation or positive quote. I can flip to a new card daily.

Grab a stack of cards, open a google doc or hang a white board and start writing those affirmations.

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads affirmation
Soulful activities for spunky old broads – affirmations

Celebrating Spunky Old Broads

I do believe my Year of the Wild Woman now includes a year long celebration of spunky old broads. It’s too perfect, too amazing, to only honor spunkiness for a month.

I hope these activities inspire you to embrace your own spunkiness, whether you are old enough to claim the title or growing into it.

And I’d love to know what other activities you came up with.

Soulful Activities for Spunky Old Broads travel
Four spunky of broads with the piper in Edinburgh…and one growing into spunkiness.



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Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland

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Fourth in the Movies That Inspire Travel series, these are the movies that inspire a trip to Scotland. I’ve greatly enjoyed writing this series of travel related posts. Check out the movie inspirations from Italy, Ireland and England too.

If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know that Scotland is dear to me. I grew up with an intense longing to explore this gorgeous country, after I learned about my Scottish roots as a young child. My dreams became reality in 2014, with my first trip to Scotland. I returned in 2017 and 2019. Truthfully, I think about my ancestral homeland daily. Scotland calls to me continually. I feel more myself, more at home there, than I do anywhere else in the world.

This collection of movies inspired me through the years, while I yet dreamed of visiting Scotland. And today they stir fond memories and ease…a tiny bit…the ache to return home.

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland title meme

The Three Lives of Thomasina 1963

This early Disney live action drama stars Patrick McGoohan, Susan Hampshire, Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice.

In this fantasy meets reality film, a young Scottish girl’s cat, Thomasina, helps bring a family together through her mysterious death and magical resurrection. Set in 1912 Scotland, this tender movie enchants both children and adults.

Fun fact: As is usual in films featuring animals, several cats played the role of Thomasina. One of the felines held up filming for two days by absolutely refusing to perform a stunt she had trained for.

Purchase The Three Lives of Thomasina

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland the three lives of thomasina
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – The Three Lives of Thomasina

Local Hero 1983

This comedy drama stars Burt Lancaster, Peter Riegert, Peter Capaldi and Denis Lawson.

An oil billionaire sends his representative to a remote Scottish village, to secure property rights for a proposed refinery. While the villagers initially seem excited by the prospect of a cash windfall, the eccentric local hermit doesn’t share in the enthusiasm. He refuses to sell his portion of the beach where he lives. This is the story of a materialistic man who discovers the incredible beauty of a simpler life.

Fun fact: After the movie released in 1983, many people came looking for the quaint village featured in the film. The Scottish village is Pennan on the Moray Coast.

Rent Local Hero on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland local hero
Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland – Local Hero

Rob Roy 1995

Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, John Hurt and Tim Roth star in this historical drama.

In the Highlands of Scotland, in 1713, Rob Roy McGregor attempts to better the lives of those dwelling in his small village. He borrows money from a nobleman to purchase cattle to herd to market. When the money is stolen, Rob Roy becomes a Scottish Robin Hood to defend his family and his honor.

Fun fact: Actor Tim Roth feared losing the role because he played Archibald Cunningham as too eccentric. He even asked his agent to start looking for another part for him. Instead, the director encouraged Roth, asking him to up the level of eccentricity. Roth later received an Oscar nomination for his performance.

Rent Rob Roy on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland rob roy
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Rob Roy

Braveheart 1995

Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohand and Angus Macfadyen star in this historical drama.

Scottish rebel William Wallace leads an uprising against the English king, Edward Longshanks, who covets the crown of Scotland. With the assistance of Robert the Bruce and the clansmen of the Highlands, Wallace seeks freedom for all of Scotland.

Fun fact: When asked by a Scotsman why the Battle of Stirling Bridge was filmed on an open plain, Gibson answered, “The bridge got in the way”. “Aye,” the local responded, “that’s what the English found too.”

Watch for free on Starz or rent Braveheart on Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland braveheart
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Braveheart

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 2001

This fantasy adventure stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and Richard Harris….plus a huge ensemble cast.

Harry Potter, an orphaned boy, discovers the truth about himself at the magical Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Famous for an incident that happened shortly after birth, Harry learns that the wizarding world is more dangerous than he ever imagined.

Although Hogwarts attracts students from across Europe, the school is located in the Scottish Highlands.

Fun fact: Author JK Rowling hand picked Alan Rickman to play the role of Snape. Rickman privately received special instructions about the character from Rowling that shaped the actor’s portrayal. Those details about Snape’s backstory were not revealed until the final novel and film.

Rent the Harry Potter films on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland - Harry Potter
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Harry Potter

Dear Frankie 2004

Gerard Butler, Emily Mortimer and Jack McElhone star in this romantic drama.

Nine year old Frankie and his mum Lizzie continually move from place to place. Their most recent stopping spot is a small seaside Scottish village. Wanting to protect her deaf son from the truth about his father, Lizzie creates a false story. She writes Frankie letters that the boy believes are from his father, who is supposedly away at sea. When Frankie discovers the ship his “father” is on is due to dock in his town, Lizzie chooses to hire a stranger to play Frankie’s dad, rather than tell him the truth.

Fun fact: The actor who plays Frankie is not deaf. However, he worked with a speech coach so that his one spoken line sounded correct.

Watch Dear Frankie on CBS All Access or rent on Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland dear frankie
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Dear Frankie

Stone of Destiny 2008

Charlie Cox, Stephen Cole, Ciaron Kelly, Kate Mara and Billy Boyd star in this comedy adventure based on a true story.

The films tells the fascinating and true story of four young Glaswegian students who, in 1951, successfully take back Scotland’s stone of destiny.  The 300 pound sandstone block is the stone that the kings of Scotland sat upon for their coronations. It was taken to Westminster Abbey in England as a spoil of war in 1296. Centuries later, these students outwit British authorities to return Scotland’s pride to its rightful place.

Fun fact: One of the real life students, Ian Hamilton, makes a cameo in the film, as an “older sour faced Englishman”. Ian passes the actor portraying him as he gets out or a car, shortly before he enters Westminster Abbey.

Watch Stone of Destiny free on IMDb TV

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland stone of destiny
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Stone of Destiny

Brave 2012

This animated film features the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd and Julie Waters.

Determined to make her own way in life, Scottish princess Merida defies long held traditions, bringing chaos to her family and kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a curse.

Fun fact: Kevin McKidd, who voices Young MacGuffin, enjoyed working on this film. It was the first time in years that he used his natural Scottish accent in a movie.

Rent Brave on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland brave
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Brave

Macbeth 2015

Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jack Madigan star in this drama inspired by Shakespeare.

Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches. They claim that one day, he will become King of Scotland. Spurred on by ambition and his wife, Macbeth murders the king and takes the throne for himself.

Fun fact: During filming on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, visibility became so poor that Marion Cotillard strayed into a bog and disappeared from view. It took two crew members to free her from the mud that sucked at her feet.

Watch Macbeth free with a Prime membership

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland macbeth
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Macbeth

Outlaw King 2018

Chris Pine, Stephen Dillane and Rebecca Robin star in this historical drama.

After receiving the declaration of “outlaw” by the English, Robert the Bruce raises an army of Scottish warriors in rebellion. He uses cunning and bravery to defeat the much larger and better equipped English army occupying Scottish soil.

Fun fact: After a screening of the film, the director cut 20 minutes from the movie. Included in the edits…a scene with an encounter between Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.

Watch Outlaw King on Netflix

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland outlaw king
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Outlaw King

When You Can’t Travel, Watch a Movie

The Three Lives of Thomasina, which I watched many times as a child, ignited a desire within my heart to visit Scotland. The other films, and more like them, kept that fire stoked. Even after my trips to Scotland, watching a film set in that amazing country creates a deep longing to return.

I am willing to feel the homesickness, as I watch movies that capture the rugged mountains and narrow glens of Scotland. And I willingly allow tears to fill my eyes when I hear bagpipes or that delightful Scottish brogue. These are invitations to return, from a land I consider home. When travel restrictions ease, I intend to answer that call.

How many of these films have you seen? And have you visited Scotland yet?

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland eilean donan castle
I am home.




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Fun Facts About London Bridge

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We grew up with the nursery rhyme:

“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.”

So when I visited London in 2017, on a girls’ trip with my sisters, mother and niece, I was surprised to discover that London Bridge isn’t the fanciest bridge crossing the Thames. However, it has a rich, interesting history.

Check out these fun facts about London Bridge! And plan to walk across this iconic landmark on your trip to beautiful London.

Fun Facts About London Bridge title meme

Many Versions of London Bridge

Many versions of London Bridge have spanned the Thames, beginning with the original Roman bridge, constructed from wood in 50 AD. Those early wooden structures fell prey to weather, fires and invading armies.

In 59 AD a piled bridge was constructed. The local Britons built a small trading settlement nearby, the town of Londinium. After the small town fell to  invaders a year later, the Romans built a walled city. Some of the original wall remains today.

The first stones in a new bridge were set in this location in 1176. It took 33 years to complete the new stone bridge and it lasted for more than six centuries. This bridge boasted a width of 26 feet and a length of about 900 feet. Nineteen gothic arches, sunk into the river bed, supported the structure.

Houses Rested on the First Stone London Bridge

The new stone bridge featured a chapel at its center, a variety of shops, gates, a drawbridge, a mill with a waterwheel and houses that stood seven stories tall. The houses jutted out over the edges of the bridge and some nearly touched in the center, making the bridge more of a tunnel in places. The rent from those houses and shops funded construction and upkeep on the bridge.

One of London’s most notorious sights took place on the Stone Gateway at the southern end of the bridge. Severed heads of traitors decorated pikes stuck into the gate. The head of William Wallace (Braveheart) first appeared on the gate in 1305, starting a gruesome tradition that lasted 355 years.

A Bridge of Calamities

The bridge suffered many calamities. Fire broke out on both ends in 1212, trapping many people in the middle. In 1282, five of the nineteen arches collapsed, due to a build up of winter ice.

Houses on the bridge burned during Wat Tyler’s Peasant Revolt  in 1381 and again during the Jack Cade rebellion in 1450. And a major fire destroyed a third of the bridge during the Great Fire of London in 1666.

By 1762, all the houses were removed and two arches in the middle replaced with one great arch. However, the burden of upkeep on the old bridge became too much. The city decided to replace the medieval bridge.

Granite Bridge

On June 15, 1825 construction began on a replacement bridge. Granite quarried from Dartmoor made for a sturdy bridge spanning five arches. Six years later, William IV and Queen Adelaide opened the new London Bridge and the old one came down.

Fun Facts About London Bridge old
Fun Facts About London Bridge – granite edition completed in 1831

London Bridge is Falling Down

In 1962, the granite bridge literally began falling down, sinking into the Thames. The structure could not adequately handle the increase in traffic across the bridge.

When the city once again decided to build a replacement bridge, the granite one went up for auction. Robert P. McCulloch, founder of Lake Havasu City in Arizona, submitted the winning bid.  After purchasing the bridge for $2,460,000, McCulloch spent another $7,000,000 to dismantle, move and reassemble the structure in Arizona. Today that old bridge is a popular tourist attraction in Lake Havasu City.

Fun Facts About London Bridge Lake Havasu City
Fun Facts About London Bridge – the reassembled bridge in Lake Havasu City, AZ

Current London Bridge

Queen Elizabeth II opened the current London Bridge, designed by Lord Holford, on March 17, 1973. The bridge contains three spans of prestressed concrete box girders. It is 928 feet long and cost 4 million pounds to build.

London Bridge is frequently featured in films and documentaries, most often shown with commuters streaming across on their way to work in the city.

Fun Facts About London Bridge 2
Fun Facts About London Bridge – current structure

Mistaken Structures – Tower Bridge

Two other bridges in London are often mistaken for London Bridge.

Tower Bridge, downstream from London Bridge, and considered the city’s defining landmark, boasts grand towers. As its name implies, this bridge spans the Thames near the Tower of London.

While London Bridge has many incarnations, Tower Bridge is the original structure, built in 1894. Watch for a future post on this gorgeous bridge.

Fun Facts About London Bridge tower bridge
Fun Facts About London Bridge – this is NOT London Bridge…it’s Tower Bridge

Mistaken Bridges – Westminster Bridge

Many tourists mistake Westminster Bridge for London Bridge as well. This bridge is located near the Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

The current 1862 bridge replaced an older version from 1750.

Fun Facts About London Bridge westminster bridge
Fun Facts About London Bridge – and this is NOT London Bridge…it’s Westminster Bridge

Queen’s Jubilee

London Bridge became part of Queen Elizabeth II’s route during the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames.

Terrorist Attack

On June 3, 2017, London Bridge experienced a terrorist attack. A van rammed pedestrians on the bridge. Seven people died in this attack and a coordinated one in Borough Market. The presumed terrorists died as a result of police gunfire. Newly installed security barriers now protect pedestrians walking across the bridge.

Haunted Bridge

As with any structure doused with centuries of history, ghosts inhabit London Bridge and the surrounding area. Impaled heads alone would leave some strong…and creepy…residual energy. There are also spooky tales of grave robbers, bandits, restless ladies of the night and former inmates from London’s oldest prison. Interestingly, the former bridge, now located in Lake Havasu City, claims London spirits as well.

Check out this London Bridge Ghost Tour.

Have You Visited London Bridge?

Is the magnificent city of London on your travel list?

There are SO many amazing sights and experiences waiting there for the adventure seeker. We loved our visit to this bustling city and I am looking forward to returning in the future.

On your visit, take time to walk or drive across one of London’s oldest bridges. Or better yet, catch a hop on/hop off bus. Sit back and enjoy the tour while a knowledgeable guide highlights points of interest.

If you’ve visited London, what fun did you experience?

Fun Facts About London Bridge 1
The strange building in the background, the Walkie Talkie, earned the title of “Britain’s Ugliest Structure”.

Check out these fun finds from Amazon:



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Spunky Old Broads Day

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The year contains many fun and unusual holidays and celebrations. I know because I check frequently as I create my monthly blog and social media posts schedule.

Somehow though I’ve missed this one for February 1, Spunky Old Broads Day. In fact, the whole month of February celebrates outrageously fun older women with Spunky Old Broads Month.

The wild woman within stirred as I read about this unique holiday. I’m grateful we get more than one day to relish it.

Spunky Old Broads Day title meme

Origins of Spunky Old Broads Day

This day, and the whole month, celebrates women aged 50 and older who refuse to grow old quietly. They enjoy living a full, authentic, “no regrets” life.

The founder of the holiday, Dr. Gayle Carson, serves as a life coach and advisor to entrepreneurs around the world. Check out her podcasts HERE. She primarily focuses on helping older women. Dr. Carson felt that the words “spunky”, “old” and “broad” presented negative images about aging. She chose to string the words together, creating Spunky Old Broads Day, also known as SOB Day.

This fun holiday encourages others to show appreciation to the older women in their lives. And for those of us who ARE the older women in others’ lives, Spunky Old Broads Day and Month gives us opportunity…and dare I say permission…to shine as our quirky, beautiful, outrageous selves.

Spunky Old Broads Day purple
Spunky Old Broads Day – one of my favorite quotes.

Defining Those Words

I love the study of words so of course I looked up spunky and broad, as they relate to women.

Spunky is an adjective that means “courageous, spirited, feisty and determined”.  And I LOVE this next bit. The word originates from the 1530s Scottish word spong, meaning “a spark”. It was first used in the sense of courage and mettle in 1773.

Someone who displays spunkiness is spirited and brave and not afraid to try new things or set off on an adventure. It takes a spunky traveler to cheerfully explore a city without a map.

And broad is a dated word used to describe a woman in an informal way. It’s an Old English word with Germanic origins. The term came to mean a woman in the 1930s. It’s derived from the fact that one of the most defining characteristics of a woman is her hips, which are proportionally broader than the hips of a man.

Spunky Old Broads Day keep calm
Spunky Old Broads Day – another favorite quote about aging

Women Who Are Wonderfully Spunky Old Broads

Over the last couple of days, I’ve thought about well known older women who exemplify spunkiness. I came up with quite a list. Here are several and words of wisdom from them:

Alice Walker – American Author and Social Activist

This amazing writer published The Color Purple in 1982, winning the National Book Award for Hardcover Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

” I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person. That is, if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money or what will make fame.”

Helen Mirren – British Actress, Model and Naturalist

Helen excels on the stage and on the big screen. She’s considered a Triple Crown of Acting winner in the US for winning an Oscar for Best Actress in The Queen, a Tony for The Audience and four Emmys for television limited series and movies.

“It’s ridiculous to pretend we can stay young forever.”

Spunky Old Broads Day helen mirren
Spunky Old Broads Day – Dame Helen Mirren

Lyn Slater – Accidental Icon, Blogger and Professor

At the age of 64, Lyn became an “accidental” style icon. When she started a blog and Instagram page, she had no intention of creating an age busting agenda, hence the accidental part. However, she is now known for her oft times eclectic fashion sense and her empowering promotion of women over 50. Check out her fun Instagram page.

“This project is me saying: ‘I’m not twenty, and I don’t want to be twenty. But I’m pretty cool, and here I am.'”

Maya Angelou – American Poet, Memoirist and Civil Rights Activist

This talented woman, who passed away in 2014, published seven autobiographies, three books of essays and several books of poetry in addition to appearing in plays, movies and television shows. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.

“We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.”

Spunky Old Broads Day maya angelou
Spunky Old Broads Day – Maya Angelou

My Spunky Legacy

I have an amazing legacy of spunkiness in my family, woman who live out loud, who pursue their dreams, who travel and explore the world.

Great Grandma Cynthia

My great-grandmother, whose first name I share, traveled the US until she was well up in years. I remember her amusing stories and her cackle of laughter as she told them. She possessed a penchant for getting lost or going beyond and loved the experiences. Grandma Cynthia once insisted on walking down into the Grand Canyon, against the advice of guides. When she couldn’t get back out of the canyon, a ranger went in after her. She rode out on a donkey. And telling the story, she remarked on how cute the ranger was!

Spunky Old Broads Day grandma cynthia
Spunky Old Broads Day – Great Grandma Cynthia

Great Aunt Pearl

Aunt Pearl was actually Greg’s great aunt, however I adored her as well. This accomplished, beautiful woman traveled the world. She went on safari, rode a camel across the desert and enjoyed a hot air balloon ride…in her 80s. She possessed boundless energy and once literally raced Greg across a parking lot, to get to the Wichita Zoo entrance ahead of him so she could pay!

Aunt Pearl’s home featured intriguing items from her adventures and the dear woman always brought home souvenirs for me and my children. I’ve often said I want to be just like Aunt Pearl when I grow up.

Spunky Old Broads Day aunt pearl
Spunky Old Broads Day – Great Aunt Pearl

My Mom, Pat

I couldn’t write about Spunky Old Broads without including my incredible mom. No one has better shown me how to live a big, authentic, adventurous life.

Mom is an author, with several published children’s books. She’s creative and artistic, owned and operated businesses and traveled extensively around the US and the world. Mom continues to join me and my sisters in new experiences. One of our greatest shared adventures was a trip to Ireland, Scotland and England in 2017. I’ll never forget it.

Spunky Old Broads Day mom
Spunky Old Broads Day – my fun mom, dressed to the nines for a family Halloween party

Celebrating Spunky Old Broads Day and Month

I’m thrilled to discover this month long holiday. It perfectly meshes with my desire to release my inner wild woman and live as my most authentic, spunky self. I’m old enough and I’m brave enough to embrace it all. Plus the Scottish root word for spunk, meaning “a spark” connects to my song for the year, Girl on Fire. This feels like an invitation to go deep and go far.

Are you a spunky old broad? How can we celebrate?

I have some suggestions.

Try new experiences. Go beyond fears, limiting beliefs and comfort zones. Do something we’ve always wanted to do. Dress the way we want. Or don’t dress up at all. Get out into nature. Unleash creativity. Play. Explore. Shake things up. Speak up. Plan a trip and when restrictions ease, GO.

And finally, a thought of my own:

“With age comes confidence and freedom and strength. I no longer concern myself with what others think about what I’m doing. I’ve worked hard to become who I’m supposed to be. I’m not shrinking back now.”

Sisters over 50, join me in this Spunky Old Broads Sisterhood. Share your thoughts below. Find me on social media and share your photos.

And tell me about your favorite spunky old broads.

Spunky Old Broads Day garden girl
Me…a spunky old broad

Fun Spunky Finds from Amazon:



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Book Review Live Life Colorfully

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Thank you to wunderkind pr for sending Live Life Colorfully for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


In the midst of an ongoing, world wide pandemic and the accompanying changes we all continue to experience, it’s refreshing to dive into a book that encourages creativity and seeing life differently.

Jason Naylor’s beautiful book, Live Life Colorfully, offers respite, uplifts the spirit and fires up the creativity nestled within us all. I can’t help but smile over the bold, colorful pages as I slowly and thoughtfully thumb through the book. Each page is an invitation to bring more color, more positivity, into my life. It’s an invitation I happily accept.

Allow me to introduce you to Jason Naylor and his colorful life.

Live Life Colorfully title meme

Meet Jason Naylor

Jason is an award winning artist and designer based in NYC. He is known for his bright colors and even brighter messages of hope. Originally from Salt Lake City, he traveled to New York as a teen and felt drawn to the color, the art and the culture there.

Jason’s work has received global recognition, including the Golden Novum Design award, and he has been featured on HGTV and the Discovery Channel. In 2018, Jason was named by BUMBLE as one of the 100 Most Inspiring New Yorkers, and his colorful creations have found partnership with brands like Coach, Guess, Pepsi, and Maybelline.

Jason’s mission is to spread color and positivity around the world. His brightly colored designs and insightful words reflect his zeal for life, his quest for joy, and his love of LOVE.  His art ranges from videos to illustrations to typography to murals. And now he’s created his first book, Live Life Colorfully.

“I like to describe my color palette as electric. My art is very reliant upon messaging, often about kindness or love, but I don’t see these as something passive. I think they should be treated with passion and energy, and my palette supports that.” Jason Naylor

Those words perfectly capture Jason’s book. It’s full of that passion and energy.

Live Life Colorfully Jason Naylor
Live Life Colorfully – artist Jason Naylor

Live Life Colorfully Book

One of Jason’s strongest messages is to “live life colorfully” so it’s no surprise to discover those words as the title and theme of his new release.

The square hardcover book features rich, bold colors on pages with black  or brilliantly hued backgrounds. However, this isn’t just a book to read cover to cover or a “coffee table” book. No. This beautiful book offers insights, tips, quotes and activities…99 of them…to add joy, positivity and creativity to life.

Did you know that looking at or using strong vibrant colors lifts the spirits, stimulates the brain and boosts creativity?

Live Life Colorfully offers all of that within its pages with a mix of inspiration, tips and fun activities.  It’s the perfect gift for self help, motivation, and happiness seekers, as well as lovers of pop art and bright colors.

Live Life Colorfully page 54
Live Life Colorfully – #54 Albert Einstein quote

Sample of Pages

Take a look at some of the bright, fun pages within Live Life Colorfully.

#24 Color Your Sidewalk

How long has it been since YOU colored on the sidewalk? It’s an activity children enjoy however as adults, we either don’t take the time to play in this way or we feel foolish for coloring madly on the sidewalk.

Jason encourages the reconnection with the inner child, something I’ve been consciously doing for several years. It’s amazing how doing so fires up creativity.

Live Life Colorfully page 24
Live Life Colorfully – #24 Color Your Sidewalk

#2 Stick it to the (Hu)Man

I love the reminder on this page to leave encouraging notes around the home or office. I have a stack of colorful sticky notes, which is perfect! Often we crave words of praise from someone…anyone. We can encourage ourselves with funny sayings, words of praise or inspiring quotes.

And what a great idea for brightening a child’s room or surprising a co-worker.

Live Life Colorfully page 2
Live Life Colorfully – #2 Leave sticky notes around the house or office

#77 Four Letter Words

I love this activity. Jason writes that four letter words, also called colorful language, often refer to profane or vulgar words. However he says we get it wrong. There are many four letter words that inspire, encourage, uplift or possess deeper meanings.

Jason shares some of his favorite four letter words and invites the reader to come up with more.

Live Life Colorfully 77
Live Life Colorfully – #77 Four Letter Words

My Thoughts About Live Life Colorfully

Simply stated, I love this book. I feel energized, joyful and creative as I work through it. The quotes inspire me. And some of the pages elicit a laugh while others lead me to deeper thoughts and realizations.

There are pages on cutting out fear, making a paper airplane, growing succulents and shining as your absolute self. One activity encourages the reader to give things away. Another one discusses hugs.  There’s a helpful tip on organizing your phone apps by color and one to colorize your closet.

Jason lives life boldly, compassionately, confidently and yes, colorfully and I appreciate the gifts he offers to the world.

In the forward to the book, Jason shares these words:

“Live life colorfully is a succinct way to say ‘Be yourself, be brave, be proud of who you are, be kind, be loving and be happy!’ I hope that exploring this book will help you do just that.”

That’s exactly what the book is doing as I explore it. I randomly open to a page and read the text. If an activity is present, then I do that. During a year when my intention is to be my most authentic, creative “wild woman” self, Jason’s book serves as a powerful reminder of what that means.

Live Life Colorfully 53
Live Life Colorfully – #53 Use Colored Pens

Get Your Book

Are you ready to bring more color, creativity and joy into your life?

You can order your copy of Live Life Colorfully at Chronicle Books or through Bookshop. It’s also available at Amazon.

I believe you’ll enjoy colorizing your life!

Book Cover





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Welcoming a New Year

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For almost two months I’ve moved steadily toward my birthday, one fun activity at a time.  Amazingly, this is my birthday week. I turn 63 on Saturday, January 9. I’m posting this update, the fourth one, with the final “what I learned” post coming in a couple of weeks.

As I did last year, somewhere in the middle of all these activities I wondered “Why am I doing this?” I question myself because these randomly selected celebrations and activities take time to complete. They add to already full days. However, they add to my life too and that’s the answer, that’s why I play this birthday game. The 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday take me beyond and make me think and help me grow.

Since my last birthday update, we’ve flipped the calendar over, saying goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021. The theme for this group of activities is Welcoming a New Year. It seems appropriate!

Welcoming a New Year title meme

Welcoming a New Year

As with the last three birthday updates, I’m listing each activity on the day I drew the folded slip of paper out of the jar. And I’m sharing photos and details about some of the activities and adding whether they are completed or in process.

12/22/2020 Watch A Christmas Carol with Finley (completed)

A treasured Christmas tradition in my family is watching A Christmas Carol during the holidays. The George C Scott adaptation aired on television for the first time in December, 1984. I held my sleeping three month old baby girl, Adriel, during that first viewing. Adriel and I have watched A Christmas Carol together every year since. We are often joined by other family members, however the two of us faithfully make sure we take the time to watch it together.

On this, our 37th viewing of the Dicken’s classic, my daughter held her sleeping baby daughter, Finley Grace. The sweet tradition continues.

Welcoming a New Year A Christmas Carol with Finley
Welcoming a New Year – Finley sleeping through A Christmas Carol

12/23/2020 Plan out an entire day…and follow the plan (completed)

I am actually just completing this scheduled day…today. Even though I use a planner and schedule blog and social media posts a month in advance, I rarely cross everything off my daily “to do” list. I planned out a day from waking up to going to bed. However, I’ve had trouble picking the day to carry out this highly scheduled day due to things popping up unexpectedly and the holidays.

Last night I set my alarm for an early wake up and felt excited to see if I could complete everything on my list. When I woke up this morning, before the alarm, I knew something was off. It was. I set my alarm for PM not AM. I overslept an hour and almost postponed my scheduled day…again. But you know what? I got up and got going and by noon I was back on track, time wise.

I’m happy to say I accomplished everything on my list, even a scheduled walk at the park after lunch. While I love spontaneity and going with the flow, after this productive Monday highly scheduled days might show up more often in my planner.

Welcoming a New Year scheduled day
Welcoming a New Year – I enjoyed my scheduled walk

12/24/2020 Dance around a fire in the fire pit at night (canceled because of weather…rescheduled for 1/5/2021)

12/25/2020 Plan a solo trip to the London Christmas Markets (completed)

A trip to London during the holidays perfectly aligns with a trip to Edinburgh’s Christmas Market. On paper I continued my holiday travels by flying from Edinburgh to London. While Edinburgh hosts one HUGE market, London features many spread out across the city.

I enjoyed researching the different markets, picking three to visit and locating suitable lodging for my visit. How magical to visit both of these cities during the Christmas season.

Welcoming a New Year London Christmas
Welcoming a New Year – and I hope the opportunity to travel

12/26/2020 Purchase reusable chopsticks (completed)

I love Thai food and vegan sushi. And I enjoy using chopsticks. Rather than continue to use and toss disposable chopsticks, I added an activity to encourage less waste. As a result, I purchased a package of metal chopsticks and a package of decorative wooden ones.

Welcoming a New Year reusable chopsticks
Welcoming a New Year – reusable chopsticks

12/27/2020 Visit a place in Arkansas I’ve not visited before (scheduled)

12/28/2020 Create a garden sculpture from found objects (not completed)

12/29/2020 Arrange a comped trip (in process)

12/30/2020 Eat only vegetables for a day (completed)

12/31/2020 Include a new tradition in my New Year’s Eve celebration (completed)

Weather prevented me from building a roaring fire in my fire pit and burning an effigy of 2020…a New Year’s Eve tradition from Ecuador. So instead I ate 12 grapes at midnight, a custom from Spain. Regardless of the activity, I welcomed 2021 with an open heart and wide open arms.

Welcoming a New Year traditions
Welcoming a New Year – 12 grapes tradition from Spain

1/1/2021 Create art for 2021 theme and symbol (completed)

I drew this activity on the perfect day. For several years I’ve created an art piece, using a sketching pencil and colored pencils, that represents my word or theme and symbol for the new year.

My theme for 2021 is Wild Woman. My symbol is the moon. I had so much fun creating art incorporating both of those things. I’m pleased with how it turned out. The framed art rests on my bedside table where I look at it often.

Welcoming a New Year themed artwork
Welcoming a New Year – I loved creating this art piece to represent 2021

1/2/2021 Create a comfort package to give to the homeless (not completed)

1/3/2021 Do a synchronized dance (not completed)

1/4/2021 Learn a phrase in multiple languages (completed)

I had fun with this activity today. With my theme for 2021, the phrase I chose is “I am a Wild Woman”. Using a translator app I translated the phrase into 11 languages: French, German, Danish, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Spanish, Afrikaans, Greek, Russian and Swahili.

I’m very grateful to my grandson Dayan, who speaks Russian. Without his help my translated phrase would have read, “I am a crazy woman”. And perhaps that is true as well but it’s not my intended phrase! If any of the other translations are incorrect, I take responsibility for those. It was fun on the app to listen to the phrases in their respective languages. Use this app HERE.

Birthday Week

I have five slips of paper left in the jar. And I have a handful of activities yet to complete. Complete them I will. A few are scheduled out. And trips that canceled due to weather are rescheduled. Watch for the final birthday update on January 18.

Although I gain back some hours in the day, I feel a bit sad when the birthday celebrations come to a close. They truly are fun and I love the new experiences.

This birthday game creates a powerful incentive for staying healthy and fit. The older I become the more days I get to celebrate as I head toward the next birthday! Later this year I’ll launch 64 wild woman activities for my 64th birthday. Won’t those celebrations be fun?

Welcoming a New Year wild woman
Multiple ways to say “I am a Wild Woman”.

Birthday Updates

63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday

Holiday Flair

Stories to Tell

Check out these Amazon finds:



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Year of Curiosity in Review

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Another year slipped by and what a year, right? Writing the 2019 year end review and looking forward to 2020 I knew not what lay ahead. And I’m glad I did not. I’d rather go with the flow of life and learn as I go.

I’ve been writing year end reviews since I began blogging in 2014. This year that’s still my intention…and yet it was such a different year that I struggled initially with what to share. Typically I offer highlights from the past 12 months. Ultimately, I decided to do that this year too, with a slight twist. For the year that we all experienced shaped our journeys. How could it not?

So here it is, the Year of Curiosity in Review, with thoughts about the year in general thrown in.

Year of Curiosity in Review title meme

Year of Curiosity

2020 was my Year of Curiosity with the key as my symbol and “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana my song. I love following curiosity to see where it leads. It truly is the key that opens doors for me to adventures and new opportunities. With my love for travel, I hoped curiosity would lead me on many adventures, both near and far.

I also noted that 20/20 is a term associated with eyesight. Therefore, the year could bring greater clarity and vision with new things to see.

All those things proved true, however not in the way I imagined.

The Unexpected

I certainly saw things I never expected to see: a world wide pandemic, a shortage on toilet paper, the craziest election year I’ve ever experienced, conspiracy theories of all kinds, face masks, people against face masks, people who believe anything they read on social media, misinformation, racial inequality and fear, anger, frustration and loss. Ugliness came to the surface in many as a response to these dramatic and oft time painful shifts.

I’ve shared before that when we get squeezed, what’s inside comes out. I saw that in abundance this year. People turned on each other. Families divided. Friends parted ways. I heard words spew out of mouths that I never thought I’d hear and saw lines drawn in social media posts that created more division. Great clarity did indeed come this year as we all revealed more of who we really are, inside.

The Good

This year brought wonderful surprises too. I welcomed a precious new grandbaby, a child long desired by her parents. Finley Grace brings such joy and hope in the midst of chaos.

I saw people go above and beyond, helping others, being light, offering from whole hearts. Others sacrificed their time and resources. Those in the medical community became front line warriors. Opportunities did arrive, for adventures, expansion and for growth…so much growth. My trust in the goodness of God and in those who do good, in spite of it all, deepened greatly.

And in my dark backyard, I witnessed an event in the sky that had not occurred for 800 years. Standing there I realized how small and temporary we humans are. Time marches onward, in circles that repeat and overlap. Humanity endures, learns and grows through struggles, birth pains and sheer determination.

Year of Curiosity in Review happy couple
Year of Curiosity in Review – happy parents to be, my daughter and her husband
Year of Curiosity in Review Finley Grace
Finley Grace, one of 2020’s greatest gifts

Year of Curiosity in Review

Here are the highlights from this most unusual year!

The Blogs

What a year of growth for the blogs. A simple system that I created, planning out in advance each month’s blog posts and social media posts, proved so helpful. I keep a notebook with the months on separate pages and write out the details for each day. Doing so saves me time and keeps me on track with my goals.

I took a travel writing class in January that I highly recommend, Travel Blogging Blastoff by Pete and Heather Rees. Check out the course here. Although I didn’t get to travel in the way I intended to, due to COVID, I adapted.

Mondays are lifestyle and review posts on Cindy Goes Beyond

What a joy to expand the number of companies and brands I worked with this year. I accept assignments and campaigns from companies I trust and like, while staying open to trying new products. I worked with more than 40 brands and love the experiences. And they seem to appreciate what I offer. Many companies send repeat assignments and make me an affiliate. Check out this post I wrote for Smartr Skin as an example.

I’m happy to report as well that I’ve earned the most income so far, from the blogs this year. I had my first $1000 month from blogging which is exciting and encouraging. It’s onward and upward from here.

Year of Curiosity in Review smartr skin
Year of Curiosity in Review – Smartr Skin campaign on Instagram.

Wednesdays are all things health related on Journey With Healthy Me

I like the schedule I’ve worked out, on posting. Three posts a week are much more manageable than the ten a week I used to do, between the two blogs! Wednesday my focus is on Journey. I continue to share health tips, recipes and personal experiences. Pop over to my other blog, if you’ve never visited before. Check out this post, Vegan Ramen Noodles.

Year of Curiosity vegan ramen noodles
Vegan ramen noodles as shared on my other Instagram site

Fridays are travel related posts on Cindy Goes Beyond

What does one write about, when travel is restricted? I choose to revisit countries and cities, in my memory and in photos, and write fun stories about those places.

In my notebook I keep a list of possible travel stories and topics and add to those as ideas pop into my head. I’ve not run out of things to write about, nor will I. Read this 2020 post Fun British Phrases and What They Mean.

Year of Curiosity in Review British phrases
An example of a travel post

I also go on at least one road trip a month, visiting places in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas. My little travel mascot that I adopted this year, VW Van Ferni, accompanies me. I snap a photo of her wherever we go. Greg often travels with me too. We wear masks, except when outdoors, and follow social distancing as we explore.

A trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee postponed until next year and my solo trip to Edinburgh for the Christmas Market canceled. These local road trips help ease my desire to travel while sharpening my travel writing skills. And I enjoy new experiences in my own area. Check out Philbrook Museum Gardens, Ferni’s debut trip.

Ferni at Philbrook Museum
Year of Curiosity in Review – Ferni at Philbrook Museum Gardens in Tulsa, OK

These posts from this year are special to me

The following 2020 posts are worth mentioning.

My Favorite Post: Dropping Keys – I enjoy writing all of my posts. This one, however, is my favorite this year and holds a special place in my heart.

Post I’m Most Proud Of: Fix Her Crown Award – this one means a lot to me as it honors women who walk alongside other women and fix their crowns, without calling attention to their deeds. I created the award because my post Fix Her Crown continually brings in readers.

Most Viewed Post of 2020: This gardening post, Growing Clematis Babies, continues to bring in tons of traffic. I wrote it two years ago and yet it’s consistently my top post. So far it’s had more than 60,000 views. My most viewed post written in 2020 is Dropping Keys followed closely by Fix Her Crown.

Year of Curiosity in Review dripping keys
Year of Curiosity in Review – my favorite post

The Next Adventure

I can’t label this year as bad. Different? Yes. Stressful at times? Yes. Divisive? Oh yes. Full of opportunities, joys and blessings? Also yes. And it did deliver sharp clarity about many things that helped me to cast a bigger vision. I let go of much this year…beliefs, fears, assumptions and people. But I gained some of the most profound experiences of my life. For all of these things, I’m grateful.

Do I feel trepidation about the coming year? After all, the end of the calendar year doesn’t mean an end to COVID or chaos or growing pains or division. However, I feel no anxiety about what’s next.

A new year brings fresh perspectives, amazing opportunities and intriguing experiences. I enter 2021 with an open heart and excitement about my theme, symbol and song. I’ll share more about those in January.

2020, I thank you for the lessons and the blessings. You shaped me and helped me let go of that which no longer serves me. 2021, I welcome you. The Year of the Wild Woman is here.

2021 Wild Woman



Check out some favorite products from 2020:


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Stories to Tell

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Although 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday sounds like a LOT of activities to cross off, the time seems to fly by. This year I have a little more than two months of experiences and activities to complete and yet, six weeks in it’s time for my third update.

I’ve noticed that a definite theme seems to arise, around the slips of paper that I draw for the activities. A month ago, the activities centered around Holiday Flair. The last two weeks, the theme is Stories to Tell.

I placed three blog post related activities in the jar…and drew out all three within days of each other. Other activities tell their own stories as well. Come check out the tales these experiences tell.

Stories to Tell title meme

Stories to Tell

As I’ve done in the last two birthday updates, I’m listing each activity on the day I drew the folded slip of paper out of the jar. And I’m sharing some of the activities and adding whether they are completed or in process.

12/8/2020 Pick a song for 2021 (completed)

Every year, I select a word/theme, symbol and song for the year. Or rather, those things pick me. Through repetition and synchronicities, I discover what my word/theme, symbol and song are. This year, for example, my word is curiosity, my symbol is the key and my song, “How Far I’ll Go”.

My word/theme, symbol and song carry great significance for me, especially as I enter the new year. They provide a roadmap of sorts, for the year ahead.

My theme for 2021 is wild woman and my symbol is the moon. I’m very excited about the upcoming journey and I’ll share much more about the theme and symbol soon. The song for the year is always the last component to arrive. When I selected this birthday activity out of the jar, it was more about an increased awareness around what my song for 2021 is, not a search for one.

And the song that revealed itself to me, in multiple ways during the last two weeks is….drumroll….”Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys. This song means a lot to me for many reasons and I’m thrilled to claim it as my song for 2021. I’ll explain why it’s the perfect song for me and share the stories in a future blog post.

Stories to Tell Girl on Fire
Stories to Tell – song for 2021 Girl on Fire

12/9/2020 Write a post about a topic I’ve not written about before (in process)

12/10/2020 Plan a solo trip to Edinburgh for Christmas Market (completed)

Sadly, this trip was originally scheduled for this month. My intention to do my first international solo trip to a city I dearly love didn’t happen because of the pandemic. Not only is a flight to Scotland out of the question currently, the Christmas Market AND Hogmanay both canceled.

I spent a fun afternoon, however, planning out a seven day solo trip to Edinburgh during the Christmas season. I’m not sure when I’ll get to enjoy that trip but it’s all planned out! And the stories about the anticipated trip are already spinning in my imagination.

Stories to Tell Edinburgh Christmas Market
Stories to Tell – Edinburgh Christmas Market

12/11/2020 Reach out to one or two older women who shine as their glorious selves for interviews and share on the blog (not completed)

12/12/2020 Only eat fruit for a day (completed)

I enjoyed meals and snacks made from only fruit for a day…and I was also glad to only do that for one day! This time of year I appreciate hot cooked meals! Fruit only for the day was a nice change up and challenge though.

The day started with a huge fruit smoothie. I dined on orange, avocado and green olives for lunch and ate a mixed fresh fruit salad for dinner. Snacks consisted of sliced Honeycrisp apples.

Because my curiosity led me to research which foods are actually fruits and which are vegetables…the answer is surprising…I birthed a fun blog post for Journey With Healthy Me.

Stories to Tell fruit only for a day
Stories to Tell – fruit only for a day

12/13/2020 Write a blog post featuring wild women that I admire (in process)

12/14/2020 Eat the rainbow for a day (completed)

I admit I enjoyed this activity a bit more than the fruit only day simply because I included cooked food. Although I’m plant based and eat a variety of nutritious, colorful food, I focused this day on getting as many colorful foods as possible. Truly, this is an excellent daily intention for these wonderful foods help create amazing stories about my health.

Stories to Tell eat the rainbow
Stories to Tell – eat the rainbow

12/15/2020 Find an Online Art/Crafts Class (completed)

Browsing for something fun, artsy and different, I stumbled upon a YouTube video series called 5 Minute Crafts. These projects are clever and easy to complete in a short amount of time. Although I have not completed a project yet, I did find and watch the series of videos.

Check out DIY Phone Cases to Make in No Time

Online class
Stories to Tell – online art/crafts class

12/16/2020 Meditate for 63 minutes (not competed)

12/17/2020 Request an application for the writer’s residency at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland (completed)

This activity needs little explanation, if you know me at all. The writer’s residency is for 30 days, all meals and accommodations provided, at a beautiful castle south of Edinburgh. I’ll jump at any opportunity or excuse to visit Scotland. Staying in a castle is icing on the cake…vegan cake of course ;-). Imagine the stories I’d craft from the experience.

This residency requires a written request for an application. I don’t know what the requirements are, exactly, however I think the writer must have a published book. All the more incentive to get my book finished!

Stories to Tell writers residency
Stories to Tell – writer’s residency in a Scottish castle

12/18/2020 Design, on paper, a wild woman outfit (in process)

12/19/2020 Wear a temporary tattoo (completed)

One of the easiest and most fun activities so far, I’ve enjoyed sporting a tattoo this week…a temporary one, that is. I ordered a packet of temporary tattoos from Amazon. When they arrived I sorted through the many options and settled on a tiny key. Why? The key is my symbol for this year and represents curiosity unlocking doors to opportunities and adventures.

The application process was simple and I must say I’ve loved wearing this small tattoo on my right wrist. I look at it often and smile. It reminds me that curiosity truly is the key to ongoing journeys and growth. Plus it brings to mind the poem that I love, Dropping Keys. It’s so important to me, to keep dropping those keys to the “beautiful, rowdy prisoners”.

And yes, I’m seriously considering getting a permanent key tattoo.

12/20/2020 Wear clothes backwards for a day (not completed)

12/21/2020 Visit a place in Missouri I’ve not visited before (not completed)

On the Homestretch

As I passed the halfway point, on my way to my 63rd birthday, I paused to reflect. Although they bring extra activities into my day that require thought, time and resources, I value these experiences. They teach me so much about trust and about myself.

The activities stretch me, move me ever beyond comfort zones and show me how much I am capable of. It’s not really the end result that matters so much. For example, my chances of getting into the writer’s residency in Scotland are slim. However it is the putting myself out there, the striving, the trying new things that matters. All these experiences tell stories about me and who I am and where I am headed.

Please, though, if you see me shopping at Wal-Mart wearing my clothes backwards, don’t take any photos!

Temporary key tattoo
Wearing a temporary key tattoo

Fun Finds 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 Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.