Friday Faves Edition 59

Friday Faves Edition 59


It’s Friday!

I don’t know what that means for all of you, but for me, it means we’ve officially entered into Spring Break vacation mode.

Which for Friday, means cleaning, squaring things away, and packing…and then driving up to D.C. so we can catch an early flight tomorrow morning to Aruba!!

Friday Faves.

But I didn’t want to head out on the road without sharing some of my Friday Faves.

The week has mostly been about taking care of things before we head out on vacation. I did make the announcement for my April Challenge and I edited some photos from our last snow to share for Wordless Wednesday. I also dug into the archives to share my photos of the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh for Thursday Doors.

I will have a few posts scheduled for next week, but I will likely be slow in responding to comments. Thank you for bearing with my slow replies this week as I prepped for the trip.

Just know that I love hearing from you all!

I will not be back with Edition 60 of Friday Faves until April 13th. Which just means, more to share!


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Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard. -Haruki Murakami . . .#seekthesimplicity #beautyinthechaos #dreamchaser #beyondthehorizon #nothingisordinary #sunsetchaser #fiftyshades_of_nature #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #roamtheplanet #saltlife #VisitNC #darlingescapes #beautifuldestinations #optoutside #wearetravelgirls #womenwhoexplore #exploremore #exploretocreate #fromwhereistand #doyoutravel #letsgosomewhere #letsgoeverywhere #natgeotravel #travelstoke #traveldiaries #femmetravel #naturehippys

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My most recent series on Instagram was a trio of some beach sunsets that I have loved. I thought it was appropriate since I am about to head out on a beach vacation.

I knew the type of quote that I was seeking to go with the photo and when I found the one above, I knew that it conveyed my feeling about the photo.

If you are on Instagram, I will be trying to share many of the sights in Aruba through my Instagram Stories.



This was from one of my Instastories. Miss Sunshine needed some sunglasses to wear in Aruba, and since I’m obsessed with sunglasses, I got a new pair as well.

I think my old pair (my go-to ones) got mad, because the next day, the frame cracked and the lens fell out.



My mother-in-law is watching our puppy, Maverick, while we are away. I tease her that she loves dogs more than humans. I took him over to her house yesterday. Her birthday is April 1st, which falls on Easter Sunday this year. She was teasing me because we won’t be here for her birthday. I teased back, telling her that we’d be snorkeling that day and I’d think of her.

It was her idea to offer up some “duck lips”. Unlike me, she doesn’t share her age…but she looks amazing. I think she should shout it from the rooftops, but until she relents, I’ll maintain her wishes.



After my trip to my mother-in-law’s, I was off to Miss Sunshine’s soccer game. After all this time, I still struggle with “position names”. Her middle school coach has a formation in which she calls herself midfield, but in other formations, I think it’d be called a left forward. I just know that she’s up top, left side (she’s left-footed), but she does run more of the field than a forward might.

She’s had some assists and some shots on goal during this middle school season, but yesterday, she scored her first goal. It was beautiful! I’m biased, but it was still a beauty. Mostly because I love watching her turn on her speed. She was behind…then she was passing…and then she insanely in front of them…the goalie was coming forward thinking they might get it…I knew if she took the shot that it would go in…I stood up in the stands….she shot…she scored…I screamed.

I didn’t think to turn on the phone to record it. She did ask because she wanted to see how fast she was.

However, that, my friends, is being in the now.

I did record something to share with ya’ll though. It’s a time lapse from this morning’s plank challenge. Be kind. My talenti gelato YouTube has 2500 views (which in itself is just crazy to me) and 25 thumbs down. Really? Thumbs down. That just seems so mean. This is one reason why I rarely add to YouTube.

Plank Challenge.

I made it!! 5 minutes!!

I really thought I’d be coming to you all this morning saying that I had to throw in the towel on the final day. That I couldn’t even attempt any of it. Sometime in the middle of the night, while having a strange post-apocalyptic dream about checking floors of a hotel (I’m pretty sure the floor number scenes in the elevator were my clues), my right shoulder starting killing me. I woke up to the fact that it was indeed killing me. I adjusted its position. By this morning it hurt a little less, I took some Advil and decided to attempt it.



And I was victorious.


I may have shared this song in the past, but this was the final song that I listened to for day 30 of the plank challenge. Most songs are not 5 minutes long. You can hear it in the actual video of the challenge, but it had to come out when I sped it up.

Mountains of Men is a band out of Stockholm, Sweden that describes themselves as Alternative folk rock and stuff.


For those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope that it is a glorious day. If you don’t, I hope that you have a glorious Sunday.

I hope that you have an amazing week ahead.

Remember that you are always stronger than you think.

In body.  In mind. In spirit.

Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you should have always been. - David Bowie

Let your light shine!


The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh Scotland

The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh


Edinburgh is a city filled with many treasures.

Some treasures that I stumbled upon, I didn’t even discover what they were until I returned home and searched for them.

Mercat Cross.

One such treasure was the Mercat Cross.

In case you’re wondering what in the heck is a Mercat cross (I know I was), it’s the Scots name for a market cross. They were first erected to display a burgh’s right to trade, as well as a gathering place to hear important public announcements.


Last week, I shared my photographs and the history of St. Giles’ Cathedral. You can see from the photographs that the Mercat Cross is located in Parliament Square, near the East Side of St. Giles’ Cathedral.

At the time, I just liked the architecture of the little building. I didn’t realize its historical place.


While the first mention of the Mercat Cross is in a charter of 1365, this pillar was placed upon this octagonal building, at this location, in 1885.

I’ve since learned that there is an octagonal arrangement of cobblestones along High Street that mark the location of the Mercat Cross from 1617-1756. I know one thing that I’ll be looking for when I return in May.


The Royal Unicorn sits atop the cross holding a shield. You can also see the Scottish Flag beside him.


The Mercat Cross is a popular gathering spot for tours. The people gathered in the photos were about to head out on a ghost tour.

The Door.

Of course, no tour of a building is complete without sharing a door for the fans of Thursday Doors.

The tympanum above the door is in Latin and reads “Thanks to God. This ancient monument, the Cross of Edinburgh, which of old was set apart for public ceremonies, having been utterly destroyed by a misguided hand A.D. MDCCLVI, and having been avenged as well as lamented, in song alike noble and manful, by that great man, Walter Scott, has now, by favour of the Magistrates of the City, been restored by William Ewart Gladstone, who claims through both of his parents a purely Scottish descent. 24 November 1885” (source: Wikipedia).


What little gems have you stumbled upon when traveling?

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

Let your light shine!


A blanket of snow after spring had begun creates a hidden spring in roanoke, Virginia

Hidden Spring

Hidden Spring.

Late Snow. Spring blooms. Roanoke, Virginia.

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 28-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS |ISO 100 |28 mm |f/3.5

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 28-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS |ISO 100 |37 mm |f/4

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 28-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS |ISO 100 |34 mm |f/9

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 28-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS | ISO 100 | 55 mm | f/9

Let your light shine!


30 Day Challenge… April


We are fast approaching the 8th month in my year of #thisis40 thirty day challenges.

Those of you who’ve been following along since the beginning know that I turned 40 in September of 2017. Eek! I can’t believe that we are well past the halfway mark of my 40th year!

Even though I had been pressing outside of my comfort zones since beginning this blog at the start of 2016, I felt like 40 was a pinnacle for further pushing. Instead of dipping my toes in the water’s edge, I’d move out into the deep.

The only way for me to learn who I truly am is through trial.

My September Challenge taught me to be even more mindful about the environment. That one person’s changes CAN and DO make an impact.

My October Challenge taught me how to center myself. It taught me new ways to deal with my anxiety and how to change my focus.

My November Challenge taught me to try new things.

My December Challenge taught me that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Some days take a little more looking, but something can always be found.

My January Challenge taught me to be mindful about what I put into my body.

My February Challenge  opened my mind to worlds unknown.

While I’m still in the process of my March Challenge, I have learned that my body is capable of so much more than I have given it credit for.

30 Day Challenge…April.

So what challenge do I have in store for April?

30 days of practicing a foreign language

for 15 minutes per day.

Foreign Language.

Given that I hope to have a lot more travel in my future, I would like to become more fluent in some foreign languages.

Over time, I would like to learn multiple languages other than my native English.


For the month of April, I will be spending my 15 minutes a day learning Spanish.

I have specific reasons for starting with learning Spanish.

First and foremost, is that I took two years of it in high school.

Not that I’ve retained much of it.

However, if you’ve read about my past then you know that I graduated from Immokalee High School in Immokalee, Florida. I don’t know what the demographics were when I was in high school in the 90’s, but the main percentages from the 2014-2015 data that I found at U.S. News don’t sound far off: Hispanic 73%, Black 22%, White 3%.

Along with my classes, I picked up some other words here and there.

Mostly ones that I can’t repeat here.

One of my besties in my early teens was named Carlos. He was Cuban and lived nearby.  He taught me many inappropriate phrases. I can still remember some of them and some of our jokes. Sadly, he died in our early 20’s.


I’ve also chosen Spanish because Miss Sunshine is in her first year of study. Mr. D is in his 4th year of study and plans to continue with a 5th year during his last year of high school. At that point, his high school diploma will have a bilingual seal.

I figure that I will be able to bounce words and phrases off of them as I study.

My teens have recommended the DuoLingo app because that is what most of their teachers recommend. I will probably incorporate the usage of this and other study methods for a total of 15 minutes each day.

I’ve made the challenge 15 minutes of “foreign language” study in case you decide to join along and want to choose a different language.


Before Mr. D heads off to college, I would like to travel to a Spanish speaking country so that he can have real-life practice in using the language that he will have worked so hard to learn. Right now, I am thinking we will travel to Spain sometime next year. But we will see what the future holds.

Until then, I will be working on re-learning the Spanish that’s hidden in the recesses of my brain and forging ahead on learning all that I do not know.


Do you speak more than one language? What languages do you speak?

In any given moment we have two option: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety. - Abraham Maslow

Let your light shine!


Friday Faves Edition 58

Friday Faves Edition 58


It’s Friday! I hope you all have had an amazing week so far!!

The weather threw off my routines, but that’s okay.

Sometimes our lives need a little shake up so we don’t get stuck in our comfort zones.

Friday Faves.

I’m doing my weekly round-up of Friday Faves.

My agenda looks like a tornado struck it with things crossed out that didn’t get accomplished. However, I did manage to make notes about the things I did want to share!


First off, remember in last week’s faves when I gave you a sneak peek of the dress I planned to wear to the party on St. Patrick’s Day?


The Dress.

If you follow my Instagram stories, then you’ve already gotten a glimpse of it. I put my favorite filter (Rio De Janeiro) because the sun was at its harshest when we left. The actual photo looks like I ran it through one of those pixellating filters because the glare off of my arm and leg is so intense.

Imagine my delight the next morning when I discovered that my mom had taken the original that I texted her and posted it on her Facebook (love you, mom!).

It probably wasn’t that bad, but I am notoriously particular and usually unhappy with how I look in photos. Good thing I’m usually behind the camera.

However, since I love ya’ll so much… I am sharing two photos, that while I don’t love them, I find them acceptable for public viewing.

Close Up.

I thought the dress had a very retro classic vibe, so I tried to channel Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy Onassis with my pearl necklace and earrings.

Full Length.

The dress is a Ralph Lauren and I found it at Macy’s.

Since it was St. Patrick’s Day and my dress was not green, I wore a jade ring. Originally, my “something borrowed” at my wedding, my mother-in-law gifted the ring to me a few years ago.

It was much chillier than I originally thought it would be so I brought along a white 3/4 sleeve Lily Pulitzer cardigan that I’ve owned forever. I draped it over my arm as we entered the party since I really expected to need it later in the evening.

We stopped at the bar to pick up a cocktail. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but the bartender was asking, so I went with a vodka cranberry. Can you guess where I’m going with this?

I told the hubby I’d like to put the cardigan down at the table before we mingled. Of course, we are passing people that I need to meet along the way to the table. Sure enough, the drink spilled on my cardigan. Not an EGADS! she spilled her drink. The cup just slightly shifted, dribbled over my hand, and onto my sweater.

I switched to vodka and pineapple juice after that.

We had a great evening. Lots of good conversations and food.

And the juice stain came out!


Miss Sunshine had a soccer game on Monday afternoon. They won the game and Miss Sunshine had an assist for their goal.

As a side note, I’m still very disappointed in how the Nikon is performing. When I return from Aruba, I will be getting a longer zoom lens for the Sony.


Speaking of Aruba…only one week! There wasn’t school on Wednesday due to snow. There was a 2-hour delay on Thursday due to snow.

It threw off my quiet time for posts, but I did manage to share some things I loved at the National Museum of Scotland, a Tree Series for Wordless Wednesday, and a Thursday Door post of St. Giles Cathedral.

Snow is forecast for Saturday.

I can’t wait to have my toes in the sand and not snow!


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Apparently all I can manage at the moment are mirror selfies (and the same red jumper 🤤)– but this is a good thing! The wheels of change are turning! 🎡 In the morning I’ll be on the @thismorning sofa talking to @schofe and @hollywilloughby about my campaign to make upskirt photos a sexual offence in England & Wales. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 ❌🤳👗🚫Tune in and lend your voice to the campaign with the hashtag #StopSkirtingTheIssue. 📱💻Whether it’s insta-stories, Twitter or a good old email to your MP this campaign needs you! DM if you would like a MP email/letter template! ✉️✔️ Then all you have to do is pop your name in and send! 📮♥️

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I’ve shared before that I have a love/hate with Instagram. I love most of the people. Not so much a fan of the follow/unfollow crowd, but I guess that’s their way of marketing. The algorithm changes really bothered me.


However, recently I’ve tried to separate myself from caring about my number of likes and growth and to just focus on interacting with those that Instagram decides that I want to see. That means I try to add more IG stories and also watch more of them.


All that to say, I found myself watching @beaniegigi’s story.

Here’s a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know, but once you do know, you must speak”.

How many of you have heard of “upskirting”?

Probably a lot of you.


If you haven’t, it’s the case of somebody taking a photo up a woman’s skirt (or dress) without her permission.

I admit that I live in a bubble and I don’t find myself in many places where this might happen (public transport, concerts…etc).

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the paparazzi shots of celebrities taken from this angle. I was always mortified that anyone thought it was acceptable, but it never occurred to me that it was a “thing” happening to every day women (and girls).

It happened to Gina Martin at a concert. You can read her story in this Unilad article.


Did you know that there are places where upskirting is not illegal? It isn’t considered illegal because voyeurism apparently only applies to private places and since there’s underwear it’s not considered lewd.

Making Change.

Gina is working to have the law changed in England and Wales to make upskirting illegal. A cursory look to see if it was illegal in the United States brought me to this Time magazine article where I discovered that it is illegal in Virginia. However, at the time of the article in 2016, it was not illegal everywhere.

I applaud Gina for taking a stand against harassment.



I am still steadily progressing on the March Challenge, which is part of my #thisis40 year of monthly challenges. I do know what I’ll be doing for my April Challenge. Look for the announcement on Monday.


It never ceases to amaze me how little I truly must walk in a day. Getting in 10,000 steps requires an effort on my part. However, basing fitness on steps doesn’t take into consideration that I take Pilates 3x a week and that doesn’t require much walking, but it’s hard!


I have officially made it 23 days on the plank challenge segment of the monthly challenge. That is a 3 minute 50-second plank.


On day 20, I did need to switch it up to make it through. Instead of keeping my legs at hip width, I widened them to distribute the weight differently. I did that for about 10 seconds a couple of times over the course of the plank. On the following days, I also have moved from forearms to hands and back (though mostly on the forearm).


I am still forging ahead and hoping to nail the goal to completion. However, if I had it to do over again I would not have chosen this specific plank goal. I took on this goal because I will be wearing a bikini in Aruba. That’s the plain and simple fact. Judge if you will.

However, I feel like my abs get a much better workout from a Pilates routine. I can’t see my form during the course of the plank, but I don’t think I’m losing form. However, it’s my mid-back where I can feel the most change. Perhaps I’m losing the focus on maintaining those lower ab muscles while I’m just trying to push through to the end. I know Pilates breath work and incorporate that to get into those tiny muscles, but I feel the plank in my shoulders, back, and quads more than in the abs.


Yesterday was Maverick’s 1st birthday. He got a haircut last weekend and toys yesterday.

Ohhh…my baby is growing up!


Long Exposure.

If you watched my IG stories on Wednesday, then you know that I had a crazy outing trying to capture some snow scenes. I’ve shared a few photos on Instagram and the one above will eventually be shared. I hadn’t worked with long exposure on the Sony yet. I only have one ND filter and it wasn’t really strong enough. However, I did manage to get a few shots that I was happy with (after sliding down the embankment of snow and dropping the tripod in the stream).


I heard this song on the way home from Pilates today and liked it. Nadia Ali is a Pakistani-American singer-songwriter. IRO is a Brooklyn based singer-songwriter. Sultan + Shepard is a Canadian electronic music duo that often does collaborations.

I hope you enjoy!

I’m off to finish prepping for Aruba. Oh…and for that snowstorm heading our way. I suspect my teens might want to eat and food flies off the shelves before a storm like an apocalyptic invasion is on its way.

Keep that smile shining.


Let your light shine!


A Visit to St. Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh Scotland

St. Giles Cathedral


Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland. It has been recognized as the capital since at least the 15th Century.

Given that traces of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements have been found at Castle Rock and Arthur’s Seat, it should come as no surprise that Edinburgh is teeming with historical places.

A Visit to St. Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh Scotland

St. Giles’ Cathedral.

As a matter of fact, one of those historic places is St. Giles’ Cathedral. According to the Cathedral’s website, St. Giles’ was founded in about 1124, either by King Alexander I, who died that year, or King David I, who succeeded him.

If you think that King David I sounds familiar, then you may remember him from my post on Holyrood Abbey. 

King David I was the one who founded the Abbey in 1128. This was after being thrown from his horse and saved from being gored by a stag by the appearance of a holy cross.


According to legend, St. Giles was a seventh-century Greek hermit who lived in the forest near Names, in the south of France, with a tame deer as his only companion. One day, the King of the Visigoths, shot at a deer, only to find it held in the arms of St. Giles, who had been wounded in the hand by the arrow. Then, after some visits, the King persuaded him to become the Abbott of a monastery which he founded for him. Later he was canonized, becoming the patron saint of lepers, nursing mothers, and the lame.




Know Before You Go.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is located along the Royal Mile.

Entry to the church is free.

A permit, which is available for a small fee, is required to take interior photos. However, I arrived close to closing time (story of my life). I did walk around the beautiful interior and lit a candle and said a prayer on the Holy Blood Aisle. But alas, I have no interior photos.

Holy Blood Aisle.

In case you are curious, the Holy Blood Aisle is an area where you can light a candle and also write a prayer request. The stained glass window there depicts the death and funeral of James Stewart, Earl of Moray.

After Mary, Queen of Scots, forced abdication, the government of Scotland was placed under her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray. He was a friend of John Knox (founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland). After James Stewart was assassinated in Linlithgow in 1570, he was buried in St. Giles’ and John Knox preached at his funeral.


Heart of Midlothian.

Another piece of history is located High Street, just away from the Cathedral’s West Door.

The Heart of Midlothian is a heart-shaped mosaic of colored granite built into the pavement and marks the entrance to the 15th century Old Tolbooth. This was the administrative center of the town, a prison, and one of several sites of public execution.

Prisoners were tortured here and spikes were used to display the heads of some of the more notorious who were executed.

The Tolbooth was demolished in 1817 but was featured in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Heart of Midlothian, published in 1818.

It is a tradition to spit on the heart. Some say it was for solidarity for those inside. Others say it was the prisoners themselves who spat upon it as a sign of disdain when they were released. These days spitting upon the heart is seen as done for good luck.

Cathedral Entrance.

I had to wait until the Cathedral was closed to capture the entrance doors for all the Thursday Door lovers.



The architectural style of St. Giles’ Cathedral is 14th Century Gothic, with many alterations.

The Cathedral has a collection of stained glass windows that date from the 1870s onward.

Crown Spire.

The Crown Spire is the Cathedral’s most famed piece of architecture. While you can see the Crown Spire peeking out in the above and below photos, the first photo from the side of the Cathedral gives you the best view of this feature.

The Crown Spire was erected in 1495 and rebuilt in 1648.

Parliament Square.

St. Giles Cathedral is surrounded by Parliament Square. Parliament House, which gave the square its name, was built here in 1641 and used by the Scottish Parliament until the Treaty of Union in 1707.

Duke of Buccleuch.

The statue in the foreground is of Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott. Otherwise known as the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, who was a politician and substantial landowner.

The bronze memorial was unveiled February 7, 1888, and it shows the Duke wearing the robes of the Order of the Garter.

The top gallery has huntsman chasing a stag.

On the lower level, there are bronze reliefs of episodes from the Scott family history.


While I’m sure my genealogy diverges substantially, I still find it fascinating.

For those of you who are new to my blog, the trip to Scotland with my mother and aunt was an ancestral journey. My mother’s maiden name is Scott and her father was born in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada. His father was born in Bothwell (Holytown, Pollocks Hill…it varies on documents), Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Scott Lineage.

So far, we’ve been able to trace back the Scott line to my 5th great-grandfather, John Scott (b. around 1771) in Scotland. He married Esther Palmer in Renfrewshire on September 21, 1794. He is living in Redtown, Renfrewshire on the 1841 census. Esther, who was born in Stirling, Stirlingshire, is listed as a pauper in Redtown, Renfrewshire, in the parish of Paisley Middle Church by the 1851 census. She is also listed in the same location as a Coal Miner’s widow on the 1861 census. Also, I have her death record which states that she died of old age on October 12, 1861, and that the informant was the Inspector of the Poor.

However, many first names are used, again and again, making the Scott line hard to trace. But, based on typical naming patterns, I believe John Scott’s parents to be John Scott and Euphemia ?.

Your Turn.

Have you been to Edinburgh?  If so, what did you find most fascinating? I return again in May and would love to know if you there’s anything I should add to my “can’t miss” sights

Have you studied your ancestral history? If so, from what part of the world do they hail?

Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. -Louisa May Alcott

Let your light shine!



Tour some displays at The National Museum of Scotland Edinburgh

Safety, Science, and Religion


Edinburgh holds so many treasures that on a short visit it’s hard to even scratch the surface of all there is to do and see.

Tour some displays at The National Museum of Scotland Edinburgh

National Museum of Scotland.

One such treasure is the National Museum of Scotland. The museum is located on Chambers Street and is open daily from 10:00-17:00 (except closed Christmas Day, and open 12:00-17:00 on New Year’s Day and Boxing Day).

Best of all entrance to the museum is FREE.

I love when a museum is free because then you don’t feel like you need to block off a full or half day. This is especially wonderful when you’re there for a brief visit and trying to jam in as many sights as possible (such as I was).

The day we visited the museum we had already had a busy day. That morning we had been to Leith to tour the Royal Yacht Britannia, which I’ve shared in a three-part series here, here, and here. After that, we toured the Palace of Holyroodhouse. And while I haven’t written about the full tour, I have shared about the Holyrood Abbey.



According to the map at the National Museum of Scotland website, there are 7 levels to the museum. The museum is divided into numerous galleries. We arrived late in the day and tried to see as much as possible.

Even still, we didn’t take in a fraction of all that there is to see.


Because of our pace, I also didn’t photograph nearly as many displays as I would have like to have captured.

You may recall that I shared one of my favorite pieces, The Millennium Clock, in an older post.

I do have one or two other series from my time visiting the museum, but today’s grouping I’ve titled safety, science, and religion.

Lighthouse Stevenson.

The Stevenson family built or rebuilt every lighthouse around the coast of Scotland. During the time from 1786 to 1938, five generations of the family designed and built lighthouses.

The family introduced new ideas to lighthouse design. They used more powerful lenses, developed different signal patterns for each lighthouse to help sailors navigate, and also overcame the problems of building strong structures in remote and dangerous places.

Paris Exhibition.

The optic above was designed by Thomas Stevenson and exhibited in Paris in 1867. It demonstrated his design for the Tay Leading Light, one of two lights that guiding shipping into the River Tay.

Inchkeith Lighthouse Lens.

The Inchkeith Lighthouse lens is located in the Grand Gallery. This dioptic lens was designed by David A. Stevenson in 1889. It was designed for the lighthouse on the island of Inchkeith in the Firth of Forth.

The Inchkeith Lighthouse had been built in 1803 by Robert Stevenson and his father-in-law Thomas Smith, to protect shipping coming into the port of Leith.

This lens was in use at the Inchkeith Lighthouse until 1985, when the last lighthouse keeper was withdrawn and the light was automated.

Atom Smasher.

You all know that I am a HUGE lover of science.

A small section of the particle accelerator used at the University of Edinburgh for nuclear physics research from 1950-1972 is on display. It is also located in the Grand Gallery.

This portion of the accelerator is an electric circuit which produced a very high voltage. This type of circuit was used by John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton in the first accelerator to “smash the atom” in 1932.

Dolly the Sheep.

Many of you are already aware of Dolly the Sheep. In 1996, she was the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. Out of the 277 eggs used in cloning, she was the only live lamb.

She was cloned from a Finn Dorset sheep at Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland. After her death, the Roslin Institute donated her body to the National Museum of Scotland, where she continues to be a celebrity.


There were many other fascinating scientific displays that I wasn’t able to capture. One of those was a display of models of DNA. You can get a peak of the display on my cover, but the photo didn’t turn out well enough to share.

The Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins in 1962 and was for working out the structure of DNA. These models only represent a tiny section and the smaller model is believed to have been made by Crick for a lecture at the University of Edinburgh.

Prayer Wheels.

One of the pieces in the World Cultures Galleries that I fell in love with was the Prayer Wheel.

The Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland made this prayer wheel house. The monastery is Europe’s oldest and largest center for Tibetan Buddhism. The copper wheels were made in Nepal.

According to signage, prayer wheels are found all over Tibet. When the wheel is turned, the prayers inside are carried into the air, earning merit – or good karma – for the person turning the wheel. Also, the more turns of the wheel, the more merit will be earned.

Turning the Wheel.

Sometimes I listen to that still small voice…to that “gut instinct”. I felt compelled to turn the wheels. However, it wasn’t because I was hoping to increase my good karma, but because I didn’t want anyone’s prayers to be left in there, just waiting to be released.

I understand that this doesn’t jive with the box of my Protestant religion, but I’m okay with that. My beliefs don’t fit into a box.

I said a prayer for the release of everyone’s prayers as I turned each of those copper wheels. For me, it was not a moment of flippancy, but of pure reverence and I felt an overwhelming sense of peace as I finished.


Since their closing time is late afternoon, we still had plenty of time to wander around Edinburgh. I decided to head over for an early evening stroll around Greyfriars Kirkyard.

As I’ve mentioned, I will be returning to Scotland in May. Since I have a few days in Edinburgh, I hope to pop back into the National Museum of Scotland to see some of the things I missed the first time.

Have you visited this museum?

If so, what was your favorite display?

Have you visited Edinburgh?

And if so, what is your favorite thing to do in the city?

Photo quote: And then there is the most dangerous risk of all - the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself freedom to do it later - Randy Komisar

Friday Faves Edition 57


It’s Friday!!

Can I get a woohoo?!

Friday Faves.

I’m just going to jump right in with my Friday Faves.

My week has felt somewhat discombobulated because of the weather. Winter said “hey, did you forget about me?” and showed back up.

In last week’s Friday Faves, I mentioned that the snow was rolling our way. It did roll our way, just at a slower than expected pace.

Dress Shopping.

I have a work party to attend with the hubby this Saturday. I needed something to wear so last Saturday I brought him along to help me pick out a dress.

Clothing Peeves.

Dress shopping and I don’t get along real well. Even though my bust and waist measurements correspond in a ratio that is standard, dress makers don’t seem to think that is the case. Because of this, the hubby sat in the chair outside the dressing room, I came out to show him the dress and then sent him on an errand to grab the next size up because the chest compression created an unacceptable sight. He dutifully obliged and the next size up would look like a paper sack.

If Only.

In an ideal world, I would plan ahead and have a seamstress who could customize the dress to fit perfectly. However, we were a week out from the party. I thought I might find a green dress since the party is being held on St. Patrick’s Day. But, ultimately, I found 2 dresses (neither with green) that fit without tugging or sagging and opted for the periwinkle one that is pictured.

I’m only offering a sneak peek because I’m hoping to have somebody snap some pics before the party and share those next week.



On Sunday, it was still too cold for me to take my exercise outdoors. I popped over to the gym and did a 30 minute walk/run on the treadmill. I know for a fact that all my steps aren’t getting tracked because my Fitbit is a little too big, but I keep going until it hits that 10,000 mark. I like to use Snapchat filters for many of my Instagram stories.


The snow finally rolled in during the wee hours of Monday morning. The school had already called off. It wasn’t near as much as they expected us to get and by the afternoon was starting a slow melt.


Monday was also my brother’s birthday. He is my only sibling and is still down in Florida. I wrote about his birth a few years ago. You can find that post here


That still meant there would be icy areas so Tuesday was a 2 hour delay for the teens. We had the boys park their cars in such a way that the hubby could get to work since he didn’t get to sleep in like the rest of us.

He left for work…and we slept.


The photo was taken while it was still snowing on Monday, but there was still some snow on the cars on Tuesday. Big Mr. needed to go by the bank before school so he cleaned off the remaining snow and proceeded to attempt to leave. However, the snow that had melted the day before and then drained into the shadows under the car had turned to ice and his car slid partially across the driveway. It did not careen off the side which is a hill covered in trees, but it would be impossible to get my Jeep past if we couldn’t get it moved.

Problem Solver.

Luckily, the hubby had picked up some salt to be prepared for the snowmageddon we were supposedly getting. I was out frantically spreading salt to get his car moved and then spreading more salt around Mr. D’s car so that he’d be able to get to school. We got it all cleared out before it was time for me to drive Miss Sunshine to school. If Big Mr. hadn’t needed to leave an hour early, everyone would have been late!


Big Mr. has been accepted to both of the Universities to which he applied. We aren’t making the announcement yet because he hasn’t formally accepted, but he’s pretty confident about where he is heading!

Back on Track.

I even managed to put together the post about hiking the star trail. Even better, I made it to my hair appointment that afternoon. The roots are all gone!


I was going to say that I wondered where Wednesday went…and then I remembered. The hubby was having a colleague come by our house on Thursday to ride to a meeting. There was a possibility they might come inside. I’m a Virgo…I’m a perfectionist… I cleaned all day…and in the end, they didn’t come inside.

But hey, at least all remnants of dog hair have been removed, the laundry is semi-caught up, and I’ve meticulously cleaned the half bath on the main floor!

No wonder for Wordless Wednesday I was dreaming of having my toes in the sand.

Pi Day.

And I did have some warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top in celebration of Pi Day.


Middle School soccer season has started. The first two games had been cancelled due to snow, so yesterday was Miss Sunshine’s first game.


I still haven’t bought a zoom lens for my Sony, so I took my old Nikon. I don’t know if I’ve just become spoiled, but I was unhappy with many of the pictures. Also, strangely, even though I shoot on the sports setting so that the shutter speed is quick enough, many photos were not in focus. I don’t remember this happening when I’ve used this camera in the past.


It was nice to catch up with some of the ladies that I know from soccer. Many of my days involve little verbal interaction with anyone other than the hubby and teens.

Season Opener.

Their first game was an away game. It was cold and windy, but they won!

Miss Sunshine had a few shots on goal. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the photos. I think this second one is funny because they are closing ranks on her. Not too worry though, just outside of the shot is her teammate who she crosses to.

Blue Ridge Parkway.

To get to this specific away game, taking the Blue Ridge Parkway is more relaxing than driving through the city. However, the sign said it was closed. Once at the game, I learned that it was only if you were heading in the opposite direction. I opted to drive home down the Blue Ridge Parkway. I decided to record part of the drive to put on my Instagram story.


Amazingly, I captured a deer running across the road in front of me. I came to a stop because there is almost never one deer. Sure enough, one turned around and ran back to where he came from. I felt bad…the two friends or family members getting separated. I hope the other one waited.

It’ll still be on my story until about 6:00 EST tonight. I may end up adding it to the highlights of my Instagram story though.


How’s that March Challenge coming along? I’m still hanging in there! I accomplished it last night, but I have some rotator cuff issues and can feel my right shoulder beginning to cry.

I am doing forearm planks, but I may end up shifting back and forth between hands and forearms over the course of some coming days. That doesn’t take any pressure off of my shoulder, but movement helps with perseverance.

I feel like there is a fine line that I will be walking. I leave for Aruba in two weeks and am not willing to tear up my shoulder before I go. Right now, I am still fine, but I will be monitoring it closely.

Thursday Doors.

After taking off last week to post about International Women’s Day, I was back with some more Thursday Door this week. These from Hôtel de Ville (the city hall) in Paris.

St. Patrick’s Day.

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? If so, what do you do to celebrate?

As mentioned, we have a party to attend. There is a festival and parade downtown, but I don’t know yet if we will head down there for it.

Sometimes I go back and tweak older posts since I understand a little more about SEO now (very little more). The most recent on that I tweaked was my Are You Irish? post where I talked about my DNA testing. I’ve also learned a little more about photography since then and changed the original photoquote that I had in the post to a background that I liked better. The words are the same and you’ll find that photoquote at the end of today’s post.


I wanted to pick a “new to me” song by an Irish singer. Rosie Carney is originally from Hampshire, UK, but moved to Ireland when she was 10. She shares her story on her website about her struggles with mental health in an attempt to help break the stigma associated with it. I applaud that and have chosen to share her music this week (plus…her voice is very lovely).

I hope that you all have beautiful weekend and awesome week ahead.

Smile and say hello to a stranger. It mind be the only kind word they’ve heard all day.


Let your light shine!




Hotel de Ville


Paris is a city of beauty and wonder. As I strolled about the city, I constantly found new things which caught my gaze because of their splendor.

Hôtel de Ville.

I love the architecture found in Paris and the Hôtel de Ville was quite spectacular. It is located in the 4th arrondissement on place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. It is the City Hall and houses the city’s local administration.


It has been the headquarters for the municipality since 1357.

The original building was a mansion called maison aux piliers “House of Pillars”. In 1533, King Francis I decided the city should have a city hall worthy of Paris. After that, the House of Pillars was torn down and the new building, which was completed in 1628, was erected.

During the Franco-Prussian War, the building played a key role in events. One of which was that the Paris Commune chose the Hôtel de Ville as its headquarters. As the anti-Commune approached the building, the Communards set fire to the Hôtel de Ville destroying almost all extant public records from the French Revolutionary period and leaving just the shell of the building.


The Reconstruction lasted from 1873 to 1892. The interior was rebuilt inside the shell. The architectural style is neo-renaissance.

According the the Paris Visitors Bureau, it is possible to set a reservation for a guided tour.


Ceremonial Doors.

Not only did the building catch my eye, but the ceremonial doors are quite spectacular. When I saw them, I knew that I needed to capture them for all the Thursday Doors fans.

I don’t read French, but I can tell that the inscription on the doors is referencing September 4, 1870, the day when the Third Republic was proclaimed.


This history from Versailles sheds some light on the turmoil surrounding those times. The Third Republic would be definitively established in January 1875. The establishment would come down to a single deciding vote, and three amendments later, the 1875 constitution would remain in force until 1940.

We took a day trip out to Versailles. You can find my posts from the visit to the Palace here and here. We also made sure to visit the Queen’s Hamlet.


The statues along the building are magnificent. There were around 230 sculptors who were commissioned to produce 338 individual figures of famous Parisians, along with other sculptures.

From left to right, the best that I can read are: H. Estienne, P de Viole, F. Miron, and M. Lallier.

Snapseed 10.jpg

Clock Tower.

While I didn’t have the best lens for the job, I did want to give you a closer view of the clock tower. You can also see some more of the many statues.


The Hôtel de Ville is a very grand and extensive building. However, I didn’t want to leave you without a view of the facade.  In the distance, you can see the bronze sculptures which were flanking the gates where I stood to take the photos. The sculptures are titled Art by Laurent Marqueste and Science by Jules Blanchard.

Paris Square.

The square is the the oldest in Paris. This area was the principal port of Paris for centuries. From 1310 to 1832, it was Paris’s principal place of execution.

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom all of the history that took place in one location.

Today, the area is teeming with vibrant locals and tourists, all strolling along admiring the beauty of Paris.


Let your light shine!