May 3, 2008

real life | "real simple" magazine

Real Simple magazine concludes monthly with a feature entitled, "Real Life", which introduces a selected reader. The April 2008 edition asked Gwyn Cready some introspective questions. I thought it would be fun to 1) post Gwyn's answers, 2) respond to the questions myself, and 3) give YOU a turn.

If you would like to add your own responses to these questions, just copy and paste the entire mini interview into a comment box and then replace the previous answers with your own.

Gwyn Cready
age 45 | romance novelist | married, mother of two | Pittsburgh

There were 32 hours in a day, eight days a week, and jeans that made me feel like Cameron Diaz from behind.


I'm a starred buyer on eBay. Does that answer the question?

That the person I fell in love/lust with at 19 is still fantastically interesting and attractive to me at 45.

Grinding lemons in the garbage disposal.

Navigating life without a road map. My mother died when I was 11.

Because I lost my mother at such an early age, one of my greatest joys is being able to be here to help my children as they move toward adulthood. But in my effort to give them everything I lacked growing up, have I given them too much? Have I helped them too much? Is it also important to let them fail?

KJ - Karen June Miller
age 50 | writer - speaker - teacher - singer - brain-stormer | married, mother of three | Orange County, CA.

Solutions had speed dial.

Self pity.

If it were an Etch-A-Sketch, the screen would be black.

My curiosity is bigger than ever.

Right now, inhaling the smell of fragrant herbs on my fingers.

My beautiful family.

I don't want to take anything or anyone for granted. Because there are no guarantees, I try to imbue every opportunity with gratitude and fresh perspective.

The Gwyn Cready questionnaire was edited by Real Simple's Suzanne Rust.

May 2, 2008

Secret Passages

Bleeding Hearts | Adam Franco at Adam and

Years ago, I visited an old mansion in Hollywood that a cousin, through marriage, had recently purchased. This grand home had belonged to a silent film star whose name I have forgotten. At the time, I didn't recall seeing her movies; nonetheless, her former home was amazing.

I immediately embarked on a self-guided tour and discovered secret panels in walls that opened to servant passages between rooms. There were dumbwaiters, multiple stairways, and a creepy basement. I was exhilarated!

I find secret passages on the Internet, too. For instance, I was looking for images of May flowers which led me to the above photo. This link delivered me to Adam Franco's website/blog...which led me to I then discovered Adam's handcrafted hanging jewelry case that he created for his wife from Red Birch and Wenge. You must see it! If you are blessed with a carpenter husband, you might be able to use your powers of persuasion. Click HERE to see the beautiful details!

"The Crunchiest Site on the Interweb"

Do any of you crave potato chips? I do. Yes, I know that chips are nowhere to be found on the healthy food pyramid (which seems to be constantly reinvented), but I do love those thinly sliced spuds! All one has to do is mention the word "crunch" and my tastebuds are standing at attention. Well, hop on over to "The Crunchiest Site on the Interweb", It seriously contains 3868 reviews on every imaginable snack, including the best and the worst; the newest and the chewiest; and the latest scoop designer chips.

May 1, 2008

While strolling through the park one day...

Lyrics to "While Strolling in the park One Day"
(The Fountain in the Park)
W & M: ED HALEY (1884)

While strolling through the park one day

In the merry merry month of May

I was taken by surprise

By a pair of roguish eyes

In a moment my poor heart was stole away

A smile was all she gave to me

[soft-shoe break]
Of course we were as happy as can be

[soft-shoe break]

I immediately raised my hat

And finally she remarked

I never shall forget

That lovely afternoon

I met her at the fountain in the park

While strolling through the park one day

In the merry merry month of May

I was taken by surprise

By a pair of roguish eyes

In the merry merry month of May

Apr 30, 2008

Seize the day with éclat . . .

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song,
read a good poem, see a fine picture,
and, if it were possible,
to speak a few reasonable words.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


éclat \ah-KLAH\ noun
1 : ostentatious display : publicity *2 : dazzling effect : brilliance 3 a : brilliant or conspicuous success b : praise, applause

Example sentence: The young actor played the role with such éclat that he was nominated for several awards.

Did you know? “Éclat” burst onto the scene in English in the 17th century. The word derives from French, where it can mean “splinter” (the French idiom “voler en éclats” means “to fly into pieces”) as well as “burst” (“un éclat du rire” means “a burst of laughter”), among other things. The “burst” sense is reflected in the earliest English sense of the word, meaning “ostentatious display or publicity.” This sense found its own idiomatic usage in the phrase “to make an éclat,” which at one time meant “to create a sensation.” By the 1740s, “éclat” took on the additional meaning of “applause or acclamation,” as in “The performer was received with great éclat.”

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

© 2007 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

Apr 28, 2008

100 Countries!

It began with a winding flume and a boat. I was a young girl, seated under a canopy of stars.
Our boat—brimming with sightseers—was without a captain or a skipper. The atmosphere was permeated with the faint smell of chlorine and charged with curiosity.

Once launched, our watercraft segued from crowd noises to melody. The familiar faded into vibrant, scaled down countries and color splashed costumes. There were children singing and dancing to a repetitious theme song that people still either like or find maddening. Regardless, it made an impression on me...

It's a world of laughter, a world of tears

It's a world of hopes and a world of fears
There's so much that we share that its time we're aware
It's a small world after all

It's a small world after all

It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world

There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship for everyone
Though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all

It's corny, I know, but my love for culture was birthed on the Disneyland attraction, Small World.
I was so enamored, that I returned home and started a short lived International Club with a 5th Grade friend of mine, Bonnie Ostrander.

Today, I fulfill my cultural curiosity through research, striking up conversations, supporting mission work, and exploring ethnic cuisine. In my most daring dreams, I never imagined that starting this blog would create an international footpath. As of today, 100 countries (17,673 people) have passed through eye-dyllic's doors. No, not everyone has lingered here, but they've touched my world. And hopefully, they took something of me with them.

Apr 27, 2008

Instant Gratification

In its wholesome capacity, the Web is about instant gratification! We Google key words and results appear instantly before our eyes. We could fritter away a lifetime clicking on links.

As a teenager, I would pour over the pages of magazines such as Glamour and Seventeen, only to dream about what captured my fancy. Now, when I peruse the enticing pages of my periodicals, web addresses offer immediate access. That's if I remember to follow-up.

I've compiled some instant gratification below...
  • April Cornell - one of my most favorite table linens to use for napkin folding: as seen in Victoria magazine
  • L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil - as seen in the May/June 2008 Victoria magazine
  • Ped Egg - as seen on TV: a pedicure tool for removing callouses. I am usually not one to be swayed by low budget infomercials, but this gizmo caught my attention. The website,, calls it a "glorified cheese grater," which is exactly what attracted me. I use a rasp for finely grating cheese and this tool is similar. So, I purchased the Ped Egg for $9.99 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and then put it to the test. The results? My feet haven't looked this good in years!

A Scrumptious Salad!

Here's a refreshing departure from the boring salad fare. Be sure to click on the salad's name to get a bird's eye view of the finished product.

Adapted very loosely from Bon Appetit, January 2007 by
(Click on the title to view a photo)

Makes 6 servings
  • 1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 2 large heads of Belgian endive, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss cauliflower florets with 3 tablespoons olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until edges are dark and caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice.

While cauliflower is roasting, combine remaining 1/3 cup olive oil and rosemary in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Cool.

Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, lemon peel, salt, and pepper in small bowl.

Combine roasted, still warm cauliflower, beans, endive, chives, parsley, walnuts and rosemary oil in medium bowl; toss. Mix in cheese. Add lemon juice mixture and toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Today's Bouquets

Charles L. Ramsay Cartoons - (1911-1944)
(Click on image to enlarge)

I know that many of you share my love for vintage illustrations. Hand drawn artwork during the mid 1900's memorialized a standard of living and spoke with a straightforwardness that is sometimes missing in our modern times. These values are evident in Charles L. Ramsay's Christian cartoons.