Easter Lily Warnings and Tips


Two warnings and a tip...

1.   Warning #1 - All parts of the Easter Lily are very poisonous to pets.

2.   Warning #2 - Be sure to cut of the dark pollen parts off the pistil. They can stain your tablecloth or clothing. I always hold a kleenex below the blossom and cut them off with scissors. Be sure to throw them away where your pets cannot get them. 

3.   The tip - Another reason to cut off the pollen tips is the flowers will last longer.

Spring Songs to Get You Dancing and "Feeling Good"


Ten songs about Spring to get you up and dancing...

1.   At the top of everyone's Spring music list is Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles

2.   A favorite of mine is Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae

5.   I don't remember Elvis Presley doing a song about Spring, but he did - Spring Fever

10.  And it just doesn't get any better than Nina Simone's Feeling Good

A Surprise From Oprah

I thought December 2020 was the last issue of O. But now (drum roll) there's an O Quarterly and this first issue is filled with good stuff like...

DIY Spa Treatments
Recommended Books
A "Refresher Course" on getting a good night's sleep
An interesting article by family therapist Virginia Satir about change
Stories of Strength
And there's still an O List of Oprah's favorite things.

There also is the online Oprah Daily.

Steam Instead of Hard Boil Those Easter Eggs

When I was a creative trainer at Apple, one of my students and I got into a conversation about chickens. (No I do not remember how that subject came up when I was helping her with the Numbers Application.) I mentioned that I love having fresh eggs, but find them hard to peel. She said she steams them instead of hard boiling them. So I decided to give it a try.

I put them in my little vegetable steamer, then put steamer and eggs into a pot of water. (I kept the water below the steamer.) I put the lid on the pan and steamed them for 12 minutes. Then let them sit another 10 minutes. They were perfect. So easy to peel and super yummy. I get to meet the nicest people when I teach. Thanks Anne.


The Louvre Just Released It's Entire Collection Online


The Louvre has been closed because of the pandemic. However  the entire collection of over 480,000 pieces from the Musée du Louvre and the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix can be viewed online - for free.

You can browse the collection by paintings, sculptures, furniture, textiles, jewelry and finery, writing and inscriptions or objects. You also can search by themes such as Masterpieces of the Louvre, Acquisitions Made in 2020, The Art of Portraiture and more.

Or if you prefer to just wander through museums and galleries (like I always do) there is an interactive map. 

Click here to access the online collection.

So until we can get back to Paris in person - enjoy. There is a lovely French Bakery down the street from me so I am going to pick up a chocolate croissant before I return to explore more. A nice French wine would work too.


Top Ten Tips From My Favorite Magazines - April

I found lots of fun Spring and Easter tips this month and even found a new favorite magazine.

1.   Tired of the same old colored eggs? I found this tip in April's Better Homes and Gardens. Use temporary tattoo transfers! How cool is that? There are lots of temporary tattoos on both Amason and Etsy. Here are a few to check out.

2.   You have probably opened lots of traditional Christmas crackers at holiday dinners. Here are instructions from Real Simple Magazine for making Easter Crackers.

3.   I thought this was a brilliant idea from Good Housekeeping for when a clan full of grandkids come to visit. They divided two sets of bunk beds with a set of stairs instead of a ladder. You also can use double beds facing out in the lower level. If you want to see more ideas of stairs with bunkbeds just google it. There are lots of fabulous ideas.

4.  Remember I told you about a new magazine I just discovered? It's a British publication and is called Platinum.  I saw this turquoise wicker chair in it. I am definitely thinking of painting my balcony wicker this color.

5.   I have been looking for a rattan room divider to hide my washer/dryer from the rest of the kitchen. This is just what I have been looking for. I found it in another British magazine Woman's Home. You can buy it at Habitat. I also found it at Anthropologie in the U.S.

6.   The Canadian issue of Chatelaine magazine features an article about Buffy Sainte-Marie. I hadn't thought about her songs since the 1960s and 70s. She just released a new children's book and song called Hey Little Rockabye. It's about adopting a rescue puppy.

7.   I can never have too many drawers. I saw this antique piece in Sunset Magazine. I love how they pulled out a few of the drawers and put a plant in them.

8.   I couldn't resist one more Easter Egg idea. This one is from the April issue of Woman's Day. They cut little straw flowers and glued them onto the shell as hair. The facial features were cut from stickers.

9.   I ran across the idea of mini fire pits in the April 5th issue of People Magazine. Who knew? I want this for my small balcony. You can get this one from Amazon.

10. I just read about a radio station especially for Baby Boomers in the UK magazine Prima. You can listen to it on their website or can get an app from both the Apple Store and Google Play. When you read their schedule don't forget that there is a time difference.


Ten Chocolate Easter Bunnies


Easter is just not Easter without family and chocolate bunnies. My sister always got enough chocolate bunnies for everyone coming to dinner and would make them part of her table display.

We did a deep google search reviewing chocolate bunnies. We read reviews from Town and Country, Taste of Home, Pioneer Woman, Country Living and Epicurius, to name a few. These are just of few of what people think are the best.

1.  Lindt Chocolate Bunnies - whether, the Gold Bunny Milk Chocolate, the dark chocolate or the mini bunnies, Lindt's bunnies are always listed at the top. 

2.  Dark and Milk Chocolate Godiva Bunnies were also at the top of most lists. You can find them on Godiva's website.

Slightly off topic, but if you want something to knock their socks off, check out Godiva's Collectible Egg. It's $34.95 but wow, would that make a beautiful table centerpiece. Or can you imagine one on every plate?

3.  Dove Chocolate Bunnies are also repeatedly mentioned and are a bit lower priced. You can get them from Target, Walmart and on Amazon.

4.  Sur La Table has a Saxon Chubby Chocolate Bunny with Mini Eggs. You can find it on their website.

And while you are exploring Sur La Table they have some darling Easter kitchen towels, dishes, egg platters and table runners.

5.  Looking for a large chocolate bunny? Real Simple Magazine recommends Mr. Goodtime's Chocolate Bunny. 

6.  If you want a really really big chocolate bunny you can get one from Morke's Chocolates. It's 3 feet tall.

7.  And if you are looking for just plain old adorable, try Harry and David's Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny.

8.  Want gluten-free? Li-lac Chocolates has adorable laughing bunnies.

9.  Want to make your own? You can make Oreo Chocolate Bunnies with a mold from Spinningleaf.

10. Need more bunny ideas. Pinterest has a gazillion of them.

My all time favorite app


I have purchased more apps than I can count. This week I bought one for my iPhone that I think is going to be my all time favorite. It is available from both Apple and Google Play. It's called Smartify.

If you enjoy going to museums this is going to be a must have app for you. I love hearing the stories behind a painting. While walking around a museum you hold your smartphone or iPad up to an artwork and Smartify will recognize it.

The developers have partnered with museums and galleries to curate a collection of more than 2 million pieces of art. And you don't have to be inside a museum to enjoy learning about pieces. I just watched one of their multi-media tours called The Art of Mindfulness.

And did I mention this app is free?


Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

One of the first places I want to go once we can travel again is Scotland. A must see for me in Edinburg is the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. There are two galleries - Modern One and Modern Two. Both are closed right now, but will be reopening soon. Modern One opens on May 16th and Modern Two opens on April 26th.

In the mean time you can take a virtual tour, including the gallery's collection of Dada and Surrealism...

and the Cubism collection.


The Shoop Shoop Song Will Get You Up and Dancing

The Shoop Shoop song (It's In His Kiss) was originally made a hit by Betty Everett in 1964. Cher released it again in 1990 in her movie Mermaids.

The 538 Personality Quiz

If you do not know 538, it is an American website using statistical analysis to tell stories about sports, politics and economics. It was launched in 2008 by Nate Silver.

In 2019 FiveThirtyEight published a personality quiz. They say...

"Meet the Big Five, the way most psychologists measure and test personality. It's a system built on decades of research about how people describe one another and themselves."

The editors also claim this personality test is based on science and "not junk."  It looks at 5 traits - extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, negative emotionality and openness to experience.

At my age, I pretty much know who I am, but I still found it informative and interesting. You can take the test by clicking here.


Book Review - The Midnight Library

I think most of us at one time or another wonder what our life would have been like if we had made a different choice...

What would have happened if I had taken that job?

Where would I be if I had said yes instead of no or no instead of yes?

Who would I have married if I had not gone to that party?

The midnight library is about how different choices, even small ones lead to different lives. It is a bit of A Wonderful Life meets Sliding Doors. (If you haven't seen the 1998 movie Sliding Doors staring Gwyneth Paltrow, I highly recommend it.)

The first eight very short chapters cover the losses in Nora Seed's life, which is pretty much in shambles. Her cat dies. She loses her job. She's broke and behind in her rent. She's lost contact with her best friend and her brother. She is lonely, seriously depressed and decides to end her life.

It's kind of a downer beginning of a book. but hang in there. In chapter 9 everything turns. "The misty vapors cleared, like spirits wanting to be unwatched, and a shape appears." She's not in heaven. She's not in hell. She's in a library.

The library is an in-between place. It is the container of parallel universes. Every book on the infinite number of shelves represents a different life Nora might have had. There to help Nora is her high school librarian Mrs. Elm. Nora gets to try on different lives before making the final decision to permanently end her life.

What I loved most about this book is how I thought about it for days. I kept thinking about the choices I have made, both big and small and how those decisions changed the trajectory of my life. Nora Seed's other lives were not all happiness and good times. Sometimes she was rich. Sometimes she was poor. Once she was an Olympian swimmer. Another time a rock star. In some lives she had a family. In other lives she was single. There was loss and sadness in each of them, but the tragedies are balanced by the unlimited possibilities.

The author, Matt Haig suffered severe depression as a young adult. He is known for his memoir "Reasons to Stay Alive." In many ways this novel is a guide for moving from depression and anxiety to a celebration of life. 


Washington National Gallery - Thousands of Origami Doves


Just before Christmas German artist Michael Pendry installed Les Colombes (The Doves) at the Washington National Gallery. The exhibit consists of thousands of origami doves as a message of hope for 2021.

The National Gallery is closed right now because of COVID. But you can register to receive an email announcement for when it is open again by clicking here.

Want to make your own origami hanging sculpture? Here is a PDF of artist Pendry's instructions. Pendry recommends that you write a message of hope on the paper before folding it. You then can hang it or give it to someone.

Keb' Mo' One More Year

Jane Goodall's New Podcast About Hope


Jane Goodall has started a podcast called "Hopecast." It is not been easy to have hope these past few years. But I promised my Mom right before she died that I would not lose hope

In this podcast Goodall talks about changing people by telling stories. I love that. She thinks it is the only thing that changes people's attitudes. 

Great Kitchen Idea

Are these not the greatest kitchen drawers? I love how they look like vintage file drawers. I would rather have a whole bunch of small drawers in my kitchen than a few large ones. 

You can find the card holder drawer pulls here.

Cynthia's Top Ten Tips From Her Favorite Magazines - January 2021


Lots of interesting and helpful things this month in my favorite magazines including decorating, inspiration, iPhone stuff, books, art and more.

Click here to read this month's top ten.

Carboard Art - What To Do With All Those Amazon Boxes


So what do you do with all those cardboard boxes being delivered to your house? Did you know there was such a thing as cardboard art? I didn't and it's a pretty big thing. Who knew?

I think some of my favorite cardboard art pieces are Picasso like masks. This would be a great project to do with your kids. You can find instructions and inspiration at HandMakery.

This piece is from Doodlers Anonymous.

And I do love cardboard birds. This parrot is made by MaryMaking.

To see more great cardboard art google it...here.

And if you would rather just buy some artists' cardboard art rather than make your own, check out Studio Roof. They have some wonderful pieces.