The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 2, Volume 2 – Martin Short Rocks As The Cat In The Hat In This Collection

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The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 2, Volume 2 – Martin Short Rocks As The Cat In The Hat In This Collection


The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! follows the adventures of 6-year-old best friends, Sally and Nick, as they are whisked off on extraordinary voyages of scientific discovery with the Cat in the Hat.  Thanks to the Thinga-ma-jigger and our friends, exploring has never been more exciting! Enjoy the second volume of the second season of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! In this volume set, kids will learn the answers to questions like what is the Earth’s atmosphere, why do we need bones, and how is paper made. The discoveries don’t end there! We learn how polar bears survive the arctic winter, how our ears work and so much more! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Sev’n F. comments, “. Not only is this a fun Dr. Seuss cartoon for all, but it is also educational. Have fun while learning about the earth’s atmosphere, the human skeleton, how paper is made and much more!” Katherine S. adds, “I love this DVD because it is bursting with awesomeness.  You find stories with snappy songs, wildly creative graphics and colorful animation.” Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror wraps it up with, “This DVD does not disappoint! It has 20 episodes! Directed by Tony Collingwood, the Cat in the Hat (Martin Short) definitely shows us that he knows a lot about many things from names and locations of the planets in our solar system to how animals walk with more than two legs.” See their full reviews below.

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 2, Volume 2
By Sev’n F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Calling all Dr. Seuss fans! Here’s two discs, 20 episodes, fully loaded of extraordinary voyages of two best friends. Not only is this a fun Dr. Seuss cartoon for all, but it is also educational. Have fun while learning about the earth’s atmosphere, the human skeleton, how paper is made and much more! So, let’s jump into our imaginary Thinga-ma-jigger and go go go on an adventure with Nick, Sally and The Cat in the Hat.In each episode, I learned something I never knew before. In each of the 20 episodes, a lesson is taught through the journey of two best friends. It had me saying “wow, how interesting !” In one episode, I learned how paper is made. Who would have thought a tree, that I see every day in my young life, is chopped down to make paper? I use paper everyday. This is what I liked about this DVD. I learned something new in each episode.What is less appealing about this show are the settings and colors. It felt like this film was created back in the 80s. I thought it needed to be modernized to capture the attention of today’s young viewers.

My favorite characters are Sally and Nick. They are six years old and best friends. I like the bond they share in each episode. They communicate and work well with each other – team players, if you ask me. They have tons of fun and experience their journeystogether. It truly shows the true meaning of best friends. I have a best friend and she and I love to take pretend voyages together.

Each episode has a different message, but the one thing they have in common are the lessons that are being taught through Nick and Sally’s voyages. In each show, you learn scientific knowledge. This is a neat way to gather your children together to sing along while taking an amazing educational journey. Knowledge is key and there’s no better way to learn but through a cool Dr. Seuss show.I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars. It is very educational and fun. The music had me bopping my head along with it. I would like it even better if it was more modernized. I recommend it for ages 3 to 14. My baby brother is three and he sung along with Nick and Sally. My mom is 39-years-old and she learned something about the human skeleton, that she never knew about before. This DVD is available now so, look for it.

The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About That: S2, V2 – Bursting with Creativity!

The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About That: Season 2, Volume 2
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Here we go, go, go, go on an adventure! I love this DVD because it is bursting with awesomeness.  You find stories with snappy songs, wildly creative graphics and colorful animation.  The voices of all of the characters work in perfect harmony, which makes each episode very engaging.

In The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About That: Season 2, Volume 2, the two, adorable 6-year-old best friends, Sally and Nick set out on many quests for knowledge. Nick and Sally learn a lot about why tummies grumble and how to walk on more than three legs. They also learn to name the planets in a splendid trip to space (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune). In another adventure they learn how cloth is made. The DVD has 20 different stories averaging a little more than 10 minutes each.

Martin Short is the voice of the Cat who does a remarkable job! The creativity in The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About That is so very clever, including the names of the Cat’s friends, the places that Sally, Nick and the Cat go, and of course, all of the things that the thinga-ma-jigger can do. My favorite character is The Cat in The Hat because he has loads of fabulous and brilliant friends from all over the world.  They are always happy to educate and teach Sally and Nick all they know.  And something I also really like is that The Cat in The Hat’s friends seem to always have wild and wacky hairstyles. They are really funny. My favorite part is when Sally, Nick, and the Cat go to space and how the thinga-ma-jigger transforms into a space thinga-ma-jigger.

There are many positive messages throughout the DVD including teaching kids to want to learn, be curious, and the value of friendship. The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About That has no bad language and there is nothing risky or dangerous that children might try to imitate. It promotes positive behavior and they treat everyone appropriately.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars.  I recommend this DVD for ages 3-8 and adults might also enjoy watching this with their kids.  The DVD is currently available.

The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 2, Volume 2
Reviewed by Denise A. B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

I’m a big fat of The Cat in the Hat! I have been since I was a little girl. Now, as an adult, I’m still a big fan! This DVD does not disappoint! It has 20 episodes! Directed by Tony Collingwood, the Cat in the Hat (Martin Short) definitely shows us that he knows a lot about many things from names and locations of the planets in our solar system to how animals walk with more than two legs. It is entertaining, engaging and great for preschool and school aged children, as well as their parents. Children will enjoy watching the Cat in the Hat and his friends Sally & Nick as they go on adventures to learn new things. One of my favorite episodes is about the solar system as the Cat in the Hat teaches Sally & Nick the order of the planets and their names. Martin Short as the voice of Cat in the Hat is perfect! I just love him. I also enjoyed the theme song. I give this 5 stars out of 5 stars, because I think it is a perennial hit. It’s engaging, entertaining and educational What more could you want! I recommend it for ages 3 to 12. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.

Nature’s Natives

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Nature’s Natives

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by Cynthia Brian

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

Witnessed from outer space this spring, a pageant of splendor burst into bloom on hillsides, in fields, chaparrals, and desert environs. The “super blooms” of Southern California captivated hearts and cameras. Northern California is exhibiting a bountiful season of blue lupines, orange poppies, and gardens filled with flowers, just not to the degree of our neighbors to the south.

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Although weeds are described as plants growing where we don’t want them, weeds are in proliferation after our continual wet days. Wild cut leaf geranium resembles a ground cover when small with tiny pink petals, yet it is a weed that needs to be pulled before it scatters seeds. Hand removal of invasive grasses is also necessary as they create fire danger while outcompeting native flora for light, water, space, and food.


More than 18,000 plant species are native to the United States and approximately 6000 species are endemic to California. To be considered a true California native, the plants must have grown here before the late 18th century when the Europeans arrived. Our state flower, the California poppy, as well as lupines, fuchsias, and other “natives” were actually first cultivated in the gardens of Europe, yet we have adopted them as our own. We are blessed to grow numerous flora inhabitants from the Mediterranean that have acclimated to our mild four seasons and adapted to our clay soil. I have termed these friends, such as lavender and acanthus, “the new natives” as I like to include them in my garden designs. 

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Natives are drought tolerant after they have been established, although they will require water if the weather has been exceptionally dry. They are wildlife attractors bringing songbirds, lizards, salamanders, butterflies, frogs, hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators into the landscape.  Minimal maintenance is required without dependence on pesticides or fertilizers. Top dressing all plants with mulch to maintain a constant temperature while reducing erosion and temperature fluctuations is advantageous.

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For year-round interest, select a variety of natives that bloom during each of the twelve months. Wildflowers are fussy as transplants therefore for a spring show, sow seeds in the fall to allow the winter water to promote a strong root system. Plants with tiny seeds can live dormant in the underground seed bank for 80 years or more depending on the optimum conditions to coax them above ground to flower, fruit, and set seed. 

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A Sampling of Favorite California Natives 

Trees, Grasses 


Western Red Bud












Blue-eyed grass




Reed grass

Wild Rye

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Shrubs, Plants, Flowers


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Ceanothus (California Lilac)







California poppy




Blue Dicks

Morning glory


Wild rose

Wild grape


Wood Strawberry

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Matilija Fried Egg Plant

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Native Perennials to the United States



Black-eyed Susan

Butterfly Weed


Creeping Phlox

Bee Balm








Bluestar Grass



Blazing Star 




Trumpet vine


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These are just a few of the thousands of natives you can discover at your nursery. A large variety of succulents and cacti are also available. It is important to remember that every plant is native to someplace. When choosing a species, you want to make sure it will grow well in your microclimate.

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Because natives have adapted to our land, they won’t struggle for survival. They are strong players requiring less work, water, and food as they work in harmony with our ecosystem. Natives are an advantageous addition to any garden as they support bees, butterflies, and birds, bringing beneficial insects and pollinators to our landscapes.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Guide

BEWARE the tick. Ticks are attacking and they are not just on the deer. Keep your lawns mowed and the brush cleared.  Rid your yard of Japanese barberry as this invasive species is a haven for ticks. 

KEEP deer from nibbling your new sprouts by installing a nine to twelve-foot deer fence. Unfortunately, all of the natural remedies including soap, hair, sprinklers, whirlybirds, lights, and noise are not effective long term. 

RE-POT orchids in spring if they are root bound or the planting medium has broken down. Most orchids need to be repotted every two to three years. If you notice green root tips on plump white roots, it is time to divide. Re-pot in lightly packed fir bark or sphagnum moss using a container large enough to allow for two more years of growth.

DIMINISH spring allergies by always removing your shoes before entering your home.  Change your clothes, shower before bedtime to keep the pollen from gathering on your sheets. Ramp up your house cleaning efforts by dusting, vacuuming, and mopping often.

SHARPEN lawnmower blades for a cleaner cut. Stay off the grass if it has been raining as walking on wet grass damages the blades and the roots.

SNIP the flowers off bolting arugula, kale, lettuces, and other leafy vegetables to prevent the plants from going to seed. Add the flowers to salads, soups, and sauces or decorate your plates.


MARK your calendars: 

April 21 is Easter. Fill baskets for garden lovers with my book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener available with extra freebies at April 22 is Earth Day

April 28 is the Annual Wildlife Festival at Wagner Ranch

May 11 is the Moraga Community Faire. Visit the Be the Star You Are!® booth to celebrate nature, books, and kids.www.bethestarBTSYA volunteers Moraga Fair-Cyn (1).jpg


Wishing you a hippity hoppity happy Bunny Day on Easter!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing,

Read more and see photos at

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3. 

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Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at 

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.



Celebrating Volunteers

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Celebrating Volunteers

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Read the newsletter at

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Miracle Moment®

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” Muhammad Ali

A Message from Founder/Executive Director, Cynthia Brian

Besides adoring the beautiful flowers springing up in our gardens, April is dedicated to appreciating volunteers. Here at Be the Star You Are!®, we are proud of the service of our volunteers. 2019 marks the 20th year of being a 501c3 charity dedicated to empowering women, families, and youth through improved literacy and increased positive media messages, and we have much to celebrate and for which to be grateful. Throughout the years we have collaborated with volunteers from numerous countries around the globe besides working with thousands from various states in America. The majority of our crew are teens and young adults with a few adults sprinkled in the mix. 

Our Star Teen Book Review Team boasts the largest amount of volunteers, currently with 92 teens reading and writing reviews that our Book Review Coordinator, Stephanie Cogeos, uploads to our Book Review site at Stephanie makes sure that format, fonts, and style are correct and that each review is worthy of the parents, librarians, teachers, and others who will read it. The book reviews are published at our literacy partner, The Reading Tub, where we are honored to have assisted in hitting their 3000 book review milestone. Make sure you check out the reviews:

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Our two Radio Broadcasts, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® and Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio are setting new highs. StarStyle® has been broadcasting LIVE weekly since 1998 and Express Yourself!™ since 2011. Both programs are now on the Empowerment Channel at Voice America. Find out more information at Forty one teens have become reporters and hosts through these innovative programs. 

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Operation Disaster Relief has become an ongoing outreach project since the devastating California fires of the past two years. Two of our teen radio hosts, Joven Hundal and Siri Phaneendra have been co-chairing this imperative service. Please consider donating to this worthy cause as we continue to help those affected by terrible disasters around the country.

Be the Star You Are!® volunteers are involved in numerous other outreach projects. Eighty-seven volunteers became published writers through their contributions in two of our signature books, Be the Star You Are! for Teens and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World. Buy the books with all money benefiting Be the Star You Are!® at

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Find out more about our programs, events, positive results, and how to help at, 

Direct Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results:

About Us:


How to Help:



Contact us:



We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:

As an all-volunteer non profit, I, too, am a volunteer. And as a volunteer I agree with what Mahatma Gandhi said,  “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Be the Star You Are! is supported 100% by the generous donations of individuals like you. BTSYA has no state or federal contributions. We thank you in advance for making a donation in honor of a special occasion, someone you love, or just because.

Thank you to our volunteers. We all salute and honor you.

Happy Spring!

Heartfelt gratitude,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

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In our recent shipments to help the survivors of the town of Paradise who lost so much in the disastrous Camp Fires, Be the Star You Are!® wants to thank three main supporters who assisted us in getting much needed new books to the distribution center.

Our sincerest appreciation goes to:

David Hancock, Morgan James Publishing:

Monique Muhlenkamp, New World Library:

Diana Zimmerman, The Calabiyau Chronicles:

Caring is sharing. Thank you David, Monique, and Diana.

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We are very proud of the work of all of our volunteers. We shine the spotlight on a few STARS who share their views on volunteering with BTSYA. 

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“I can say with certainty that joining Be the Star You Are! is the best decision of my life. This rare organization not only does good work for the community, but also actively promotes its volunteers and affords them opportunities not found elsewhere. I’ve worked as Lead Host of BTSYA’s teen radio show, Chairperson of BTSYA’s Disaster Relief, and even was published in BTSYA’s latest positive message media anthology, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World. Nowhere else could I have found such service opportunities, and I look forward to taking advantage of them even more in the years to come.”

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I have been involved with Be the Star you are since I was a teen. The incredible impact it has made on my life and thousands of others, has continued me to stay involved all through my 20’s and now in my 30’s!! This organization is based on motivating others through the power of positivity and inspirational media. Thank you for every beautiful moment this organization has brought into my life.”

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“BTSYA is honestly amazing. I’ve been volunteering as a reporter and host for BTSYA’s teen radio show and it’s provided me with so much. It’s given me countless opportunities to speak about my interests, have fun, meet new people, and grow and develop as a person. Cynthia Brian is unbelievably kind and supportive, and an amazing leader and mentor all around. I am truly honored to be a part of this team.”

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“Amazing is one way to describe this outstanding nonprofit and its fearless leader, Cynthia Brian. Over the years I’ve seen many instances where Cynthia has been a role model in rallying teen volunteers to reach out to those in need, no matter where they are or what situation presents itself. 

I support this fine organization because I believe in their cause and their leadership, and I encourage you to do the same.”


On Saturday, May 11th from 11am-3pm, the 13th Annual Moraga Community Faire and Classic Car Show will provide a day of family fun and community. The Faire attracts 3500 + attendees with numerous attractions, vendors, Kids zone, food trucks, wine, beer, art, and a classic car show. As the official face painting booth, Be the Star You Are!® volunteers will be offering activities for children including face painting, a reading circle, and giving away books to increase literacy. A book signing is also planned. Chelsea Pelchat is our teen coordinator. ““For the past four years, I have been the teen event coordinator where I have been able to exercise and develop life skills that I will use forever.“ To sponsor or volunteer, email Visit

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For the perfect Easter basket gift, buy any of our books. When you order directly from our website, 100% goes to Be the Star You Are!® charity plus you will get extra FREE goodies. For spring, how about adding Growing with the Goddess Gardener.  Or to bridge the generation gap, buy Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers with chapters by 35 volunteers Autographed the way you want and they are donation too!

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If you would like to make a direct donation to our giving fund, please visit our PayPal page!


We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at

Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556

There are other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a dime!

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases

2. Discounted books at Amazon

3. Buy or Sell on EBAY:

4. Use GoodSearch to search the web & buy from your favorite stores. Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE

6. BTSYA Logo Store

7. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 1800+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA: – be-the-star-you-are-inc

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell:

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store:

10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle

““We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Read the newsletter at

Be the Star You Are! 501 c3, PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556.

Celebrating 20 years of stellar service to the world!

GROW with us!


Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Find out more about our programs, events, positive results, and how to help at, 


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Please Be A Friendly Neighbor

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Please Be A Friendly Neighbor

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“Look for helpers. You will always find those who are helping.” Mister Rogers

After sowing seeds of beets, arugula, Swiss Chard, and leeks, I sat on my small white wooden bench to watch. Within minutes a black and white king snake slithered by my foot sending shivers up my spine at the sudden surprise yet joy because I know that king snakes keep rattlers away.  A tail-less baby lizard scampered to a rock to bask in the sunshine, and a chorus of frogs croaked their mating calls, each attempting to outdo the other. Two moths flitted through the nasturtiums, a swarm of honeybees gathered on the rosemary, and a clew of worms tilled the rich soil.  A covey of quail called to one another, landing in my chestnut tree. My vegetable garden was alive with congenial visiting helpers.

mushrooms in mulch.jpgFor years Fred Rogers modeled the benefits of caring on his award children’s program, Mister Rogers Neighborhood. The root principle of his teachings was to be a good neighbor and find helpers. Having friendly, helpful neighbors is good not only for humans but for plants and animals, too. We are all interdependent on one another for survival. To fully understand how important buddies are, we need to look no further than the kingdom of plants.

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In gardening, we call this companion planting. Health and yields are improved when certain plants are grown together. Some plants will attract beneficial insects while others will repel destructive ones. Certain flowers, vegetables, and herbs grown together will produce more beautiful flowers and flavorful edibles than if grown in solitary confinement. 


When planning your companion garden, for the team to thrive, it is critical to consider these important requirements. Determine if they enjoy the same type of soil (sandy, loamy, clay, silty, peaty), light exposure (shade, partial shade, full sun, partial sun), water (how much and how often), and pest control. 

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Soil: The ideal garden soil is loam as it is a balanced mixture of sand, silt, and clay with plenty of humus.  To improve our clay soil, we need to develop better drainage and lighten the heaviness by adding copious amounts of organic matter.  A combination of compost, mulch, and cover crops will enrich the soil, prevent erosion, and minimize weed growth.

Light: Record where the sun is during different times of the day. Remember that tall plants will provide shade for smaller plants that need protection. 

Water:  Roots need oxygen to survive. Waterlogged roots rot. Vegetables require about one inch of water a week, columbines prefer a moist environment, while succulents succeed in drier soils. Determine your own watering personality then choose compatible plants accordingly.

Pest Control: One of the most exciting things about companion planting is how various plants can attract good bugs and deter the bad ones when surrounded by their friends. Alliums are terrific company for almost all plants except asparagus and beans!

When building your garden, think about building a community of friends. 

Roses are jewels of the garden for at least three seasons, and, as with their mineral cousins, their beauty is enhanced when placed in the right setting. According to rose expert Michael Marriott, senior rosarian and technical manager of David Austin Roses Ltd in Albrighton, England, roses are beautifully suited to mixed garden borders. The trick to combining roses successfully with other garden plants lies in knowing which will play well together. Although we don’t normally plant roses with our vegetables, rose petals are edible. Gathered early in the morning, they make a tasting topping for salads and soups.

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The best partners, he says, bloom exactly together or closely overlap. “The joy is in pairing flowers that play off one another when seen side by side in full bloom. The goal is to heighten peak bloom experiences. Extending the bloom season is a different exercise. Here is a short list of his recommended rose partners.

Favorite Blue Perennials:


Blue Eyed Grass






Sea holly



Pincushion flower



Favorite Other Colored Perennials:






Black-eyed Susan



Favorite Biennial


Favorite Annuals





Sweet pea

Favorite Hedge


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When it comes to vegetable companions, we have a long list of allies and enemies. General rules advise avoiding planting in long rows or big patches to deter the pests.  Instead, interplant with flowers and herbs to confuse the predators and attract the beneficials.

Marigolds are the workhorse of any vegetable planting as they discourage beetles and nematodes. The presence of calendula in any garden is a plus repelling nasty insects while the roots clean the soil by establishing active relationships with soil-borne fungi. Nasturtium, chives, and garlic keep away aphids. Dill improves growth and flavor in all plants of the cabbage family including kale while mint will deter ants and cabbage moth and improve the flavor of peas.  However, dill will retard the growth of your carrots.  Parsley, carrots, and parsnip attract praying mantis, ladybugs, and spiders that dine on pests. Beans, peas, and clover make nitrogen that enrich the soil. 


Never plant corn and tomatoes near one another as the identical worm attacks both. If you want potatoes, plant horseradish in the four corners as protection and refrain from including squash, cucumbers, or sunflowers in the same location as they all suffer from the same blight. If you are growing strawberries, prevent worms by creating a border of thyme and strengthen resistance to disease and insects with borage. Oregano provides general pest protection while basil ward offs flies and mosquitoes while improving (no surprise) the flavor and growth of tomatoes. 


Before you start your spring planting, consider the community you will be creating. The rains are continuing, the crabapples are blooming, and the willow buds are set to burst. 

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Fred Rogers said that maybe heaven is the connections we make while on earth. In gardening as in life, it takes a village. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Read and see photos at

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3. 

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Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at 

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpg

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at

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Shazam! – Soars Far Above Other Superhero Movies Buoyed By Unique Direction And Story

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Movie Reviews
Shazam! – Soars Far Above Other Superhero Movies Buoyed By Unique Direction And Story

We all have a superhero inside of us — it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In 14-year-old Billy Batson’s case, all he needs to do is shout out one word to transform into the adult superhero Shazam. Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do — have fun while testing out his newfound powers. But he’ll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana can get his hands on Shazam’s magical abilities. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Shazam! keeps up the strong footing of solo DC movies within the Extended Universe. It soars far above other superhero movies buoyed by a unique direction and story.” Zoe C. adds, “Shazam! is absolutely amazing. It’s entertaining, funny, action packed and engaging. This is maybe the best DC Extended Universe movie so far.” Benjamin P. wraps it with, “Shazam! is a refreshing, rollicking good time with some hilarious comedy and great performances. Shazam! has tons of superhero fun, but also has a warm emotional center.” See their  reviews and interviews below.


By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

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Shazam! keeps up the strong footing of solo DC movies within the Extended Universe. It soars far above other superhero movies buoyed by a unique direction and story. This is a must watch for all.

The story follows street-smart foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who turns into an adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) by yelling “Shazam!” Courtesy of an ancient wizard, Billy revels this adult version of himself alongside foster pal Freddy (Jack Dylan Gratzer). Can he fly? Can he buy beer? Does he have X-Ray vision? Better yet, can he talk to fish? These scenarios are tested to their limits, but seriousness strikes as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) seeks to defeat Shazam and steal his powers. Billy realizes there’s more to this than jokes, but also a test to prove what makes a hero.

First, Zachary Levi owns it as Shazam with his natural comedic talent and physical prowess. He looks the part with his Godlike figure, while nailing the childishness with believability. The same goes for Asher Angel, who plays Billy Batson with the similar youthfulness, but nails his quieter heroic actions. The transformation is so seamless that you can truly believe the two are playing off each other. But, the cast’s standout comes in Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy who proved his talents in IT, but here he is even better. His conversations with Billy/Shazam are so improvisational and random and they just work. Every line of his lands. The rest of the foster family, played by Faithe Herman (Darla), Ian Chen (Eugene), Jovan Armand (Pedro) and Grace Fulton (Mary) are all incredible with each member having their own unique characteristics. I especially love Darla’s innocent goodness and happiness to have Billy around. Mark Strong, as Thaddeus Sivana, is a formidable foe with an apt back story. Still, I would have loved to see Strong saved for a bigger endgame.shazam.a.jpg

David F. Sanberg’s direction is superb, especially for his first action movie after a variety of successful horror movies. He even flexes his horror muscles with some truly terrifying designs for Sivana’s powers. My favorite scenes are Freddy’s training montages as those are a true testament to the film’s sense of humor. Scenes like these are so unique in comparison to most superhero films. I also love many of the heartfelt moments within Billy’s quest to find family. I wish the film had a bigger budget to make up for its action scenes, which could be far-between and underwhelming. But, in a way that adds to the movie’s freshness, giving small scale looks at big fights.

The message of this film is that family is found from loving and genuine experiences, not in a word. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to intense action sequences, brief suggestive content and language. The movie opens in theaters April 5,  2019, so check it out.

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic  age 10


Shazam! is absolutely amazing. It’s entertaining, funny, action packed and engaging. This is maybe the best DC Extended Universe movie so far.14-year old Billy Batson discovers, with the help of an ancient wizard, that he can turn into a Superhero just by saying the word: “Shazam!” But Billy is not just dressed in a superhero outfit, he also looks older and big!Converted into Shazam, Billy, who lives with adopted parents, goes home and tells his friend (or brother?) Freddy that he is Billy. Freddy loves super heroes and knows everything about them. Together they test Shazam’s capabilities and surprise: he is indeed a real superhero. As Shazam, Billy uses his super powers for good but also for fun.


I think Shazam! makes the cinematic world a better place. It is not just a hilarious comedy: it is about finding a family, making true friends and combating bullying.

The acting in Shazam! is amazing. Zachary Levi is the perfect Shazam. He has the charisma and humor to make this big kid an adorable hero. Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer also make this movie very engaging: they are not just funny but also kind hearted. These actors totally carry the film.  I think all the actors in this film make it more relatable for younger audiences and new generations. I definitely think that this movie is a unique superhero film, because usually that genre is more serious with only a couple jokes. But this one kept me laughing. There’s action and emotional moments as well. I feel the amount of comedy is perfect and what makes this movie special.


The director David F. Sandberg surprised audiences as he is most known for his horror films, but this one turned out to be an incredible and enthusiastic production.The story works perfectly for the whole family, so I recommend it for ages 5 to18. I am a huge fan of this film: it made me laugh and kept me entertained the entire time, and the visual effects are very good. I give Shazam! five out of five stars.The message of the film is that we can all be heroes: it only takes a pure heart to have the power and strength to do good deeds, help people and beat the bad guys. Shazam! opens in theaters on April 5, 2019 so make sure to say the word and catch it in your favorite theater!

Benjamin P., Kids First! Film Critic, Age 13



Shazam! is a refreshing, rollicking good time with some hilarious comedy and great performances. Shazam! has tons of superhero fun, but also has a warm emotional center.The story line follows Billy Batson, a 14-year-old foster kid, who moves in with a new family. Billy gains powers from a wizard who chooses him to be his champion against the forces of evil. He can transform into a powerful superhero just by saying the word “shazam.” He and his foster brother Freddy test Billy’s abilities to figure out the extent of his powers. Billy navigates the ups and downs of being a sudden superhero, while also clashing with Dr. Sivana, who is determined to take Batson’s powers to rule the world.


I really like the performances in this film. Jack Dylan Grazer is good as Freddy. Grazer takes a comedic best friend and makes him much more than a one-note sidekick. Zachary Levi is great as the super-powered version of Billy Batson. Levi channels the personality of a teenager very believably. His performance is natural and I don’t feel like I’m watching an adult try to play a teen. Mark Strong hams it up as Dr. Sivana, but he’s still quite frightening and a real threat to the characters.I love the tone of this film. It’s never self-serious and, rather than making the hero dark and brooding, Shazam! captures its heroes and their powers with a childlike wonder. This film understands that superheroes are people who we can look up to because, even though they are flawed, they always aspire to do the right thing. I love the stakes of this film. It does not rely on apocalyptic proportions to make you care about its characters.


Shazam! starts as an origin story, but ends up doing more than that. Billy has always pushed the idea of family away and is more scared of accepting family than his powers. He has to embrace the idea of family to grow as a person and a hero. He realizes he can’t beat Sivana alone and what you gain from having people support and appreciate you. I think this arc is heartwarming and a great direction for this film.

I recommend Shazam! For ages 12 to 18 due to some violence and language. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Although this film sometimes veers into predictable and clichéd territory, I came out of Shazam! with a smile on my face and excited to see what comes next from these characters. I highly recommend you check out this film when it comes out in theaters April 5, 2019

Photos © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.



Life on the Ledge – It’s a Matter of Perspective

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Life on the Ledge – It’s a Matter of Perspective

Life on the Ledge – It’s a Matter of Perspective

mountain goatAs our flight lifted off from the helicopter terminal near Smithers, British Columbia, I watched the ground recede out the window near my feet. Having called “dibs” I was happily strapped into the co-pilot seat on the left front side of the bird. Shya sat in back with two other passengers who were also en route to the Babine River for a week of steelhead fishing. As suggested by the pilot, we all donned headsets and positioned the microphones close to our mouths so that we could communicate with each other during the twenty-minute flight. The headsets crackled to life, hissing and popping with voice-activated static as I said, “I hope to see some sheep this time.”

This was our third trip to the Babine River and in previous years, others who had made the flight had reported seeing bighorn sheep and other wildlife.

Shya chimed in. “Or moose or a bear.”

“Yes, something.” I replied.

The sky was blue with the wisps of cloud and it was smooth sailing. As we crested the mountains at 6500 feet the pilot spoke up.

“There,” he said as he pointed to a white speck on his right. “It’s a mountain goat.”

As we closed the distance, the nanny goat came into focus and I saw that the animal had been resting, legs folded under her on the edge of the peak. Hearing and seeing us coming she climbed to her feet and surveyed her options – move down the mountain with the somewhat gentle slope at her back or step off the other side, straight down the sheer cliff face. Without hesitation that goat stepped off into thin air, landing on a tiny, and to my eye, imperceptible ledge below her. It was a lazy move, unhurried as if she were stepping off the curb of a sidewalk. I suppose for her it was as normal as it is for me to cross a street.

As we flew on and she became a distant speck once again, my mind danced back to an experience I once had in New York City. Shya and I had been waiting to cross the street in front of Bloomingdale’s on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. While waiting for the light, we stood with our toes dangling off the edge of the curb. It was a comfortable moment and we were at ease in ourselves. And then Shya had a thought and said to me, “Ariel, look down and see our toes.” I did as he suggested, curious but not seeing what in particular he was directing me to look at.

“No big deal right?” he said.

“Yup.” I replied.

“But imagine that we were 10 stories up or perhaps 50. Our legs would be no less capable. We would be no less stable, but we’d likely find it quite frightening. The apparency of danger would stimulate wobbly knees and an adrenaline rush!”

Closing my eyes it wasn’t hard to imagine standing high up over the street with my toes hanging over the edge of a precipitous drop. Of their own volition, my eyes popped open and I looked at Shya with a grin. In an instant I had created a climate of fear and danger where none existed.

Sometimes when I start a project or when I am preparing to do something new and challenging, I have the thought that I am not up to the task, that I don’t know how to do it, that it (whatever it is) will be difficult to do. But I have come to realize that, like that nanny goat, I am built to step off that ledge into the unknown, into what’s next and my footing will be sure – even if I am stepping onto the smallest of ledges. I have come to see that investing in being afraid or seeing myself as capable is all a matter of perspective.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

More Women on Boards: An International Perspective

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More Women on Boards: An International Perspective


This blog is provided by Lynne E. Devnew and Marlene Janzen Le Ber as a companion to their interview for Voice America conducted live at the International Leadership Association Conference. Their interview focuses on:  More Women on Boards, An International Perspective on Taking Action; it aired March 19, 2019.

Let’s begin with an assumption that in an ideal world gender equity, racial equity, religious equity, and cultural diversity would not be issues meriting attention.  The best candidates for positions in governments, leadership in workplaces, starring roles in film, etc. would always be chosen and these best candidates would be perfectly representative of the population.  As we all know, however, we don’t live in an ideal world.  We recently edited a book titled More Women on Boards: An International Perspective. In it, 42 authors, women and men from all over our globe, shared their research and experience related to an area where the world is far from the ideal – gender equity on Boards of Directors.  In 2017, women held only 15 percent of board seats globally.[i] There are many, many reasons for this lack of equity.  In our book, and in the work of other researchers, the challenges of reaching gender equity on boards have been explored and many suggestions for how to come closer to achieving the ideal have been offered.

One major conclusion we’ve reached, and which we believe is evident in all the work that’s been done, is that there are many ways to make some progress, or to move the needle, towards gender equity on boards of directors, but the influence of any one solution will be far from enough to reach the ideal and a “one size fits all” strategy will fail. In this article, we’ve summarized the challenges to achieving gender equity on boards and suggestions to address each of the challenges into four broad categories:  boards themselves, women themselves, culture, and laws. One more challenge relates to the argument whether this idea of gender equity on Boards of Directors is even worth pursuing.

Challenges – Boards Themselves

Boards and their current members provide challenges for increasing gender equity on boards.   First, in countries and companies without term limits for their Directors, the turnover is very limited and there may be very few board openings.  Demonstrating how important this challenge is, women were named to take 137 of the 358 vacant seats on Fortune 500 companies’ independent boards in 2017.  Thus, over 38 percent of the vacant seats went to women, a huge increase over the 28 percent in 2016.  But there were 4,747 seats on the boards of those companies.[ii]  So, even if all new board members were women, progress would remain very slow and totally excluding men as potential new board members would be unacceptable to most everyone.

Another barrier is the oft-stated requirement for board members to demonstrate an understanding of the “big picture”.  This competence is often viewed as best gained by serving as a company CEO.  However, as there are very few women who are hired as CEOs (e.g. 4.8% of CEOs of S&P 500 companies are women[iii]), few women have a resume indicating they have the CEO experience considered a prerequisite for board membership

Yet another challenge is that, in general, individuals are most comfortable working with others who share their values and their interests, people whom they both like and trust.  Thus boards have most often looked for new members among the people they know.  Sometimes they even seek people who look and act as they do.  They believe they are doing this in the interests of smooth board functioning.

Means for addressing these challenges include: board term limits; increasing the size of boards; recognizing that in today’s fast-changing, high technology, global economy CEOs aren’t the best source for the gaps in skillsets on boards; and adding women who are known and admired rather than merely “a woman” to meet a quota.  Executive recruiting firms are often used to help identify women not already known to board members and who would be a good board “fit”.

In addition to boards posing challenges to adding women members, boards can also limit women board members’ effective participation.  Some boards are run by chairs who listen only to a few most trusted members.  Adding women to a board if they are not going to have a voice on the board is meaningless, and board chairs are key to ensuring the voices of all board members are heard.  In addition, research has demonstrated that adding a “token” woman to a board means little except for an improved statistic.  Women’s voices seem to become an influence when there are at least three women on a single board.

Challenges – Women Themselves

Some evidence indicates that women themselves contribute to the equity issue because there are not enough women who aspire to board membership or who are prepared to serve on boards. As noted above, few women have served as CEOs and given that this is considered essential background experience, woman do not stand up to be included as independent directors.  “Golden skirts” in countries such as Norway highlight another problem.  Although women hold more than 40% of the board seats in Norway, many of the seats are held by a few women, the “golden skirts,” who are professional board members and participate on a large number of boards. The large percentage of undergraduate and professional degrees being earned by women, and the growing number of women in C-suite positions (even if not CEO) would suggest a larger number of qualified women for directorships.  Arguments are also made for the value of feminine relational leadership, which is more likely to be seen in women’s skill sets and backgrounds, as contributing knowledge, values, and decision-making approaches that would enrich boards; perhaps in ways that are more valuable than prior CEO experience. Today, many leading universities and professional women’s group offer programs to help women develop big picture and networking skills among others; efforts to help women who do not have CEO backgrounds prepare for board membership.

Some suggest that women don’t want to serve on boards; the cost-benefit analysis doesn’t come out favorably for women.  This appears to conflict with evidence that women are more prepared for board meetings than the men serving on the same boards.  However, women often have major responsibilities outside of work, and home and family roles can conflict with career ambitions.

Challenges – Cultures and Laws

This challenge is closely linked to cultural values, stronger in some countries and within some religious communities than in others, that women’s primary role is as a caregiver at home.  While our shrinking globe and global media have reduced this challenge to an extent, such beliefs still have a major influence.  Many would question the assumption of the ideal world we posed at the beginning of this statement. Even in Western countries where gender equity is espoused, most of the childcare, eldercare, and home care is done by women whether they work outside of the home or not. In some countries, gender equity is increasingly codified in the law; in other countries, the laws restrict women’s participation outside the home. Countries with strong cultural support for increasing the number of women on boards have used the legal system to require reporting of women’s representation on corporate boards or to enact quota systems.  In countries where the culture is consistent with quotas and where penalties for noncompliance are included in the laws, quotas have been quite effective.  Recently France joined Norway in the elite group of countries where the percentage of women on boards exceeds 40 percent.[iv]

Challenges – The Business Case

As a final discussion point, it is worth noting that once one gets beyond the arguments that it is unfair to discriminate against women and that it is foolish to dismiss the talent of half the world’s population, the arguments for adding more women to boards become controversial also.  Women board members have been found to add new perspectives that improve decision making, encourage innovation, serve as role models for women employees, change the atmosphere at board meetings, and encourage corporate responsibility.  Yet, when researching human behavior it is almost impossible to reasonably assume that the number of women on a boards is the only variable and that “all other factors are equal”.  Perhaps that is why the results of studies measuring the benefits of adding women to boards often seem inconsistent.  Company size, board make-up, chair behavior, industry, the style and behavior of the individual women involved, and all the other topics discussed earlier might also be “not equal” leading to conflicting evidence among studies.

We believe adding women to boards is valuable and that there are many, many things boards, women, and society can do to increase the number of women on boards.  We want to make sure we’re all remembering though, that complex issues seldom have simple solutions – and board equity is a complex issue.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills and system to create a regenerative, inclusive and thriving organization that will have a positive impact in the world.

About the Authors

Lynne E. Devnew is on the associate faculty for the doctoral program, is a distinguished research fellow, and chairs the Women and Leadership Research Group at the University of Phoenix in the United States. A former senior middle manager at IBM, she has a DBA in strategy from the Questrom School, Boston University, and is a graduate of Columbia University’s Master Degree Program for Executives in New York City and Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts, all in the United States. Dr. Devnew’s research work and publications are focused on women’s leadership aspirations and leader identity development. She serves on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations.

Marlene Janzen Le Ber is Associate Professor and Chair, School of Leadership & Social Change at Canada’s only women’s university, Brescia University College and Adjunct Research Professor at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at Ivey School of Business, Western University. Her teaching is all leadership-related. A multiple research-grant holder in the complex processes of leadership, her current research is in leader character, leader identity development in women, and impact of art-based and narrative research on policy and social change. Prior to her doctoral studies, Marlene was a health care executive within academic health sciences centers, known as a strategic leader who spearheaded numerous health system innovations. Marlene has a PhD in Strategy from Ivey Business School, MScN (Admin) and BScN from Western University.

[i] This statistic is from Deloitte’s “Women in the boardroom: A global perspective – 5th edition” published in 2017 and based on data gathered from over 60 countries.  The relevant statistic in the 4thedition, published in 2015, was 12 percent and gathered from more than 40 countries.  The report is available at

[ii] The number of women filling vacant and new board seats for Fortune 500 companies is from Heidrick & Struggles 2018 “CEO & Board Practice”.  This report is available at

[iii] This information is from Catalyst Research’s “Pyramid: Women in S&P 500 Companies” on March 25, 2019.  The pyramid can be found at

[iv] The leading role of Norway is discussed many times in our book, More Women on Boards: An International Perspective.  After it was completed, France passed the 40 percent mark, as reported in Catalysts’ “Quick Take: Women on Corporate Boards” dated December 21, 2018.  This report can be found at:

Considering aspects of Hypnosis

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Health & Wellness
Considering aspects of Hypnosis

Hi my name is Ines Simpson and I have a weekly podcast on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel called Hypnosis-Everywhere. You can listen here

A little post here for those of you wondering about this world of Hypnosis…

Wondering where to begin?

Where to start?
In my life I have always used Mentors, some good, some not so good, some I was aware I was using ( or modelling) some I never realized until later.

Sometimes it was deliberate and measured.

Jerry Kein was a tremendous Mentor to me. He didn’t call me up, or come to my house, but his work, his videos, his presentations at the NGH – at all of those of those venues and in all his teachings I could get access too – I was his student.

Now I find, I am in the position of mentoring others – and it’s wonderful and humbling. And I really, really enjoy helping Hypnotists, experienced and brand new to move through situations they are unsure of, and helping them with more exciting work with them on new ideas or processes that they want to try.

Sometimes its when you get a series of clients that you can’t seem to shift – and you need a different pair of eyes, or different track of experience to make all that work. Sometimes it’s for confidence in a certain technique, or insight into a new way of doing old things to achieve the results you are looking for. Whatever it is – it’s a collaboration on an aspect of your practice or coming practice that moves it forward.

And rather than be haphazard about this, or turn people away because I am running out of time – I have decided to make it a part of my Hypnosis practice – set aside time and schedule to work with those who want to work through things.

Mentoring as a practice. For the absolute Beginner – or Someone already with a little or more experience

FOR the Beginner:
 For the absolute Beginner – instead of a fixed formal course I am putting together an online  course you can follow at your pace – there will be all the details here when its done – in the meantime you can email me for more info now
FOR Someone already working or has a little experience:
I made a video explaining this a little more – you can see it here ;

And there’s a webpage with more details here

If you want to work through some things in your Hypnosis work, or , as I mentioned, you are just getting started and want some firm foundations, or expand your practice, clarify some methods or techniques – give me a call or email me and we can chat and see if there’s a way I can help that works for you (and me – of course – its always about me too!!)

If you just want to go through some things that will confirm you are on the right track.
If you want to get back on track!
Let’s see what we can do

Ines Simpson

Awaken Spring

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Awaken Spring

pink freesias.jpg

“The ghostly winter silences have given way to the great spring murmur of awakening life.” Jack London

It all began when I witnessed the new growth unfurling on one of my loquat trees. The leaves were a mesmerizing bright green, like the color of lime with a hint of sunshine.  Ah, sunshine, I thought! How I longed for warm, sun-drenched days. The darkness, cold, and wet of winter had begun to unravel my soul. 

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The rains throughout the winter, although welcome and necessary, have been torrential. The creeks are full and raging. If only we could save this H2O to quench summer thirsty landscapes.

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Our hillsides are carpets of emerald grasses. The only hint that salvation was near was the happy stalks of the ubiquitous daffodils singing to the sky an end to the melancholia. 

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I wanted to bottle a bit of this luminosity from those loquat leaves so I did the next best thing…I painted my fingernails the exact color! An odd choice, I’ve been told, but I was hell-bent on awakening spring.

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The next day, the weather reports suggested that we would bask in sunlight for at least a week. My earthy polish must have summoned the gods of rebirth. 

As if on cue, terra firma has erupted in a procession of power plants. Besides the narcissi and bergenia that have been blooming successively since January, we now witness muscari, tulip, hyacinth, ranunculus, anemone, oxalis, calla lily, azalea, freesia, Chinese fringe, blue star grass, and one of my favorite over-looked specimen, hellebore joining the parade.

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Hellebores are a deer resistant, low maintenance perennial that stirs with blooms (actually sepals protecting the flower) before other plants. Known as the Lenten rose, they prefer partial shade, are evergreen and boast flowers January through May. If you plant them on a slope, you’ll be able to see the flowers more easily as their stems face downwards. Hybrids include shades of ivory, jade, maroon, pink, yellow, speckled, and fringed combinations. 

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As the soil warms and the daylight hours grow longer, it is time to prepare your garden for seeding by weeding, hoeing, and adding rich soil. This year I have chosen packets from Renee’s Garden ( and have already jotted down when the seeds will be planted. At the end of March or beginning of April, I will be planting beets, leeks, and clarkia. In April I will add cleome, columbine, and dwarf dahlias. Brussels sprouts will wait for a summer sowing.

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Pumpkin seeds that I’ve saved will be planted in late May in anticipation of Halloween and Thanksgiving. If you want to carve them, choose a fun variety such as Warty Goblin or Super Moon. For that delicious holiday pie, the go-to favorite is Pik-a-Pie. Pumpkins need a large area to grow making it essential to plan now to give your Curcubita pepo the room to thrive.  Small pumpkins need a 12-foot area, medium pumpkins require 24 feet, and giants want a 36-48 feet space per plant. 

Are you thinking of including perennials that will attract butterflies, bees, bats, and birds? The National Pollinator Garden Network has announced it has surpassed its goal of registering one million pollinator gardens. In just three years, 1,040,000 gardens were registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. From tiny yards to public gardens, the million-plus gardens add up to a network of approximately five million acres of enhanced or new pollinator habitat. Offer a buffet with a diverse array of flowers, herbs, colors, fragrances, sizes, and shapes that will encourage these garden guards to visit and stay. 

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The elegant tulip soulangeana magnolia adds beauty and structure to any landscape and now is the time to choose a specimen in full bloom at your local nursery. Blooming time varies with varieties and micro-climates. Santa Rosa plum and peach trees are radiantly blossoming and will soon form fruit.  Crab apple will follow shortly. Hopefully, the rains won’t knock off too many buds.

tulip soulangeana magnolia.jpg

The frogs are chirping, birds are tweeting, and cows are mooing. The orchestra of nature waking up from its winter slumber is music to my ears. It’s time to polish our dancing shoes (and maybe your nails) as the vernal equinox has arrived with an equal balance of light and dark. The season of spring has sprung.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

CREATE a cutting garden for summer by planting delphiniums, snapdragons, and sunflowers.

VISIT for dates of the 5th Annual Compost Giveaway. Register to collect up to three yards of free compost or “black gold” which has been recycled from the green organic bins. 

FERTILIZE lawns. Spring is also the second-best time after fall to install a new lawn or refresh an old one. If you are seeding, March and April are excellent times to scatter seed, especially before a rain. My preference is for an almost weed-free, lush green ground cover.

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ADD to your planting list aeoniums and other succulents as they require minimal maintenance and water, even in the hot months. 

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CONTINUE to pick up the fallen camellias. I know I’m sounding like a broken record but camellias have a long blooming season and the ones that drop will cause a rot for next year’s bloom. Don’t stop picking them up and don’t add them to your compost or recycle bins.

BUY seeds for spring sowing from Renee’s Garden ( 

Through March 24 you can get FREE Shipping on orders over $20.00.

STOP mowing your lawns when the grass is wet or it is raining. Hearing the growl of lawnmowers when it is pouring outside boils the soul of my inner gardener. Cutting the grass when it is raining damages the grass blades and causes ruts and compaction. Inform your “mow, blow, and go” service providers to perform other tasks in inclement weather. A healthy green lawn will thank you for your restraint. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Hello Spring!


Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at 

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

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Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at

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