Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cut for a Cause

I'm taking a small detour from my Colorado recaps (I know you have ants in your pants for the rodeo recap!) to give you the skinny on my new do.  I've given you a few peeks, but for this go around, I actually blow dried it.  With a round brush and everything.  Then I put on some makeup.  
With such a drastic change from my wedding photographs, I wanted to update all of my social media profiles with a fresh photo. While we were in Colorado, I coerced Mr. Palindrome into snapping a few head shots so that I could hem and haw about how none of them really look like me, why my left eye is so squinty, and if I should start wearing darker lipstick. 
People keep asking me if I was sick of my long hair.  The truth is that I'm just not a hair person.  I'm not the girl who spent an hour blow drying and curling it through high school.  I'm the girl who throws it all in a pony tail.  Short hair has it's perks.  Like using less shampoo.  Hair just doesn't matter that much to me.  So about a month ago, I walked into a salon, sat in the chair of a stylist I'd never met, and told her to just cut 12" inches off.  Mr. Palindrome came home from work and after 10 minutes of talking about his day at work, finally noticed and said, "What did you do to your hair?"  A real romantic no?
This wasn't my first covert hair cut.  When I studied abroad, I cut my hair right before coming home without telling anyone.  Then later, I cut it again after moving to the beach.  I've donated all three ponytails to Locks of Love.  To me, it's not about a post wedding chop, shocking people, or preferring a certain length of hair.  It's about participating in a circle of giving that costs me nothing and means everything to a child.
Are you a hair person?  Have you donated hair for a cause?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kitchen and Garden Show

It's like a library in here. Quiet.  It's about to get a whole lot louder though because I'm ready to tell you all about our trip to Colorado this past week.  Just pull out your boots and give me a hearty yippy-yi-yo-ki-yay!
Mr. Palindrome and his mom kicked off the picture taking goodness our first day at the start of the annual Strings High Country Kitchen and Garden Tour.  It started off as any good vacation should with a clear sky, warm sunshine, and a boat load of carbalicious, home made breakfasty goodness, buffet style!
You can see Mt. Werner and the ski trails behind us on the deck of the first house in the tour.  The home owners had lived in Canada for quite a few years and the maple leaf was a motif woven throughout the decor of the house.  It turns out that after chatting with the homeowner for a few minutes that he graduated from the same high school as my mother-in-law back in New Jersey!  Small world.
At the second home, there was an insane wine cellar and movie room.  None of the pictures turned out inside, but how about this view from the walk out basement?  Wine and a view . . . a little bit of heaven on earth as far as I'm concerned.
All of the houses had been staged and I particularly liked seeing the western influences in the table-scapes.  I was smitten by the yellow glasses with the bubbles.  Thankfully, we non-millionaires can find lovely substitutes at Target (you're welcome).
For an afternoon break, we stopped by the Steamboat Springs Farmer's Market downtown. The floppy green polka dotted hat was calling my name and I almost bought it in anticipation of going to lots of horse races and sitting at lots of beaches, but realized that I didn't do a whole lot of either thing and passed it up. 
We tried a new restaurant in town for lunch and sat on the upper deck overlooking the Yampa River.  For the life of me I can't think of the name, but it was the new restaurant in the old Yacht Club space (I asked everyone I came across if they thought the old name was funny, and no one else saw the hilarity of a preppily named restaurant in a dusty western town).  If you go, order the fish tacos and tell them Melinda sent you.  Anyyacht, we were inspired by the tubers we saw floating down the river and planned a day of tubing for the next day. 
Back on the tour we visited the Epcot of home gardens.  Inside, it was chock full of vegetables.  Beyond the greenhouse bubble, the landscape loomed large.
Not only are the mountains bigger out west, but they also grow their dandelions a bit bigger as well.  This one is the size of my head.  Too bad I didn't include anything else in the photograph for a reference. Doh.
The black lab at the top of the stairs tickled me.  He was a big Eeyore of a dog, telling you that the heat and the visitors were a big buzz kill.
All of the home renovation blogs I read are into painting wood fun colors.  I thought this was an awesome way to incorporate that idea into your outdoor landscaping.  The fresh pop of turquoise on a swing was so unexpected, yet relaxed and fun.

This is the photograph that I'm going to print and hang somewhere in our house. That sky.  Those mountains.  The wildflowers.  The rusted horse weather vane.  COLORADO!
Since al fresco dining is only advisable for a few months, I couldn't imagine eating anywhere else but at this table, with this view every day that the weather was tolerable.

While I won't be purchasing my multi-million dollar western ranch anytime soon, we did garner quite a few decorating ideas and even some kitchen cabinet inspiration!  The fun on the first day wasn't over yet though.  Stay tuned for our next big adventure, the rodeo!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Finds - Jadeite, Beyond FireKing

MS loves itPW loves it.  I love it.  In fact, I painted our kitchen jadeite and plan to display a few pieces when we renovate the kitchen.  Beyond FireKing and paint, I'm just smitten with the color and decided to find other pieces that you could incorporate into your home for a hint of that delicious green.

 Clockwise from Top L:
Boots and Gus - Upcycled Tupperware Jello Mold Pendant Lamp
Beryl Lynn - Sea Foam Vintage Egg Beater
Smarty Pantalons - Sea Foam Green Picnic Basket Set
Sauce for the Goose - Set of Five Tin Kitchen Canisters

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mrs. Independent

I'm on the "other side" now.  The other side of single.  The other side of me.  After six months, I feel like I can start to sort out the transition from single to married.

I had always thought of myself as fairly independent.  Mostly, I was independent by necessity.  I learned how to deal with car issues like adding oil, changing flats, etc.  Sometimes I was independent by choice, like when I hitchhiked through the German countryside (think farmers wearing lederhosen).

When Mr. Palindrome was deployed, I might think, "Well crap, I wish he was here," but within 5 seconds I would figure out a way to pull a Tim Gunn to make it work.  I had to hold it together to think through solving the problem.

Shortly after getting married, I was in a car accident.  I called Mr. Palindrome 27 times, willing him to pick up the phone and come help me.  I was a hot mess - tears, cussing, hopped up on cold medicine.  I'd only been married a few months and already I was desperately calling him instead of thinking through a plan myself.  When I gave up on him answering the phone, I started thinking through the steps of what to do.  Call a tow truck.  Decide on a repair shop.  Arrange transportation from the shop to my office.  And I calmed down.  I could do this, after all I'd done it before without Mr. Palindrome.

I'm not afraid of work.  In fact, I take pride as a self described work horse.  I'll put down mulch, I'll carry my weight during moves, I'll start at 7 am - but since being married I find myself thinking, "That's a job for Mr. Palindrome," about anything that is kindof heavy or kindof tricky.   I'll look at the trash and think, "Wow, that's full, but that's Mr. Palindrome's job." So I stuff it a little fuller and figure he'll take it out when he gets home.  I've found myself wondering if I'm trapped in social gender constructs? Or if it's my human nature of wanting to take the easy route?  Now that there are some muscles around, why struggle up the stairs with a heavy load?   Having a husband can feel like having a private heavy lifter at my beck and call. 

Have you felt less independent since getting married?  Why do you think that would be?  Sometimes I think it's a good thing because we're learning how to be a team.  Sometimes I feel like I'm losing a part of myself.
(Reflective self portrait)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday Finds - Subtle Western Wear

I'm a day late and dollar short with this week's Friday Finds, but I hope you'll forgive me when you see the my picks revolving around a lovely palette of browns and blues.  I chose items from sellers all located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and aimed to choose pieces that you could incorporate into your home, even if you call "back east" home.  You may recognize Blue Sky Pottery as I featured one of her lovely salad bowl sets on Palindrome Bride.  The pieces are a subtle nod to western influences without being too overt to treasure wherever you live!


Clockwise from Top L:
Sundog Designs - Fireworks Above Earrings
Winters Wood - Pimento Burl Bowl
Blue Sky Pottery - What a Life Birdhouse Feeder
Grass Roots Design - Carved Rainbow Vase

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lamps in Action

Over the weekend, we decided we could live without the Restoration Hardware Heart Throb lamps.  Thus, we finally cut the tags off our Target Stand Ins and finally unwrapped the lamp shades.  Mr. Palindrome even bought the special 3-way light bulbs so that we could enjoy a trio of light options perfect for reading, conversation or TV viewing respectively. 
I cleaned 3 months of mail off the table and then attempted to photograph our wallet rejoicing lamp alternatives.  I was so excited to use my new Nikon D90 and my wide angle lens in an effort to get a sweeping, magazine worthy shot of our family room.  Turns out, the room is too small to capture anything more than a corner. 
That's ok, more closeups for you!  Do you see what I mean about the brass being much more apparent in person than in the photo on the Target website?  I never would have bought the lamps unless I had seen them in person.
I have to confess that I took pictures of the other half of this pair.  However, I don't love you enough to show you the photographic disaster.  I will tell you about my laziness though.  Mr. Palindrome had swiped the other lamp's light bulb when he was ransacking the entire house for 4 bulbs of the same wattage to install in a ceiling fan.  With only one window in the family room and my bedtime approaching fast (8:30 pm, yes I've got the sleeping habits of an octogenarian), I tried every camera setting available.  If it involved more than lifting my one camera button pushing finger, I didn't try it.  I could have found another light bulb.  I could have waited for another day.  Waiting another day could involve more work tidying up though.  So you suffer with photographs from just one lamp.  Poor babies.  After you cry yourself to sleep over it, you can just imagine an identical lamp on the other side of our couch.  Except transfer in a jar of potpourri for the bird cage and butterscotch pillar candles for the stained glass votive holders.  Seriously, try it.  You probably haven't had to use your imagination since grade school, so don't hurt yourself, but give the ole imagination a nice warm-up stretch.  See? Pretty lamps.  

PS - I'm a teensy blogger with an audience of my mom and me.  I don't get any money from Target for talking up their lamp or making it look a million times better.  Check out the Blog with Integrity button on my right hand panel if you'd like to read more about the commitment I made to blogging with integrity.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Herb Garden

I'm the queen of the black thumbs.  I once killed a cactus.  Yet, against all odds, I've been nursing a wee herb garden on my deck rail this summer.  Mr. Palindrome's grandparents and gardeners extraordinaire, made themselves quite at home in May on their drive up to Long Island.  We put them to work mulching, planting, cleaning, and shopping.  On our trip to the state farmer's market in Raleigh, they insisted I needed an herb garden to compliment my fledgling attempts in the kitchen.  Being the true Italians they are, they chose basil and parsley without hesitation.  They let me choose the third herb to round it all out and I chose Rosemary.
Before I knew any better, I had let my basil grow tall enough to flower.  Shortly after this photograph, I pinched off the flowers to encourage him to spread.
I can't lie, it's been hard to remember to water them.  In 100 degree heat for the past few weeks, sometimes I don't remember until I catch them drooping a little.  However, all three plants are still alive and that's a win in my book!
I've been building my weekly menus around my herbs.  Previously, I've used the basil to make Caprese Salad topped Hamburgers.  Tonight, fresh parsley will adorn my stuff shells.  Later, I'll try Rosemary Chicken Cutlets.  Any other recipe suggestions for my baby garden?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Finds - Anamalia in White

Since I enjoyed rummaging for finds and curating Friday Finds on my wedding blog, I decided to carry this feature over to Palindrome at Home as well.  This week, I've been contemplating accessorizing our master bedroom as we finally finished a 6 month bathroom renovation and recently expelled all tools from the floors of the bedroom (along with a great mountain of laundry that has been banished to the washing machine).  The palette is full of warm neutrals which I would like to contrast with some pops of clean white accessories.  I'm particularly drawn to white ceramic figurines that I could pose and rearrange at will, thus I've collected this small collection of animals that I've run across in my recent browsing sessions.

Clockwise from Top L:
VintageWE - Vintage Elephants
Tinted Vintage - Vintage Deer Figurine
Katie Armour - Vintage White Ceramic Dog Statue
Little Dog Vintage - Milk Glass Quail

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Patching Your Old, El Cheapo Counter Tops

This is what we started with:
A 6 inch section of missing Formica (exposing the belly of our counter), a toaster oven with a filthy window, a set of steak knives still in their box, and a dishwasher overflowing with any wedding gift that I deemed dishwasher safe.

We had no intention of fixing any of the above issues.  We were just sitting on the couch, still recovering from the holidays and the wedding.  We were waiting for House Hunters International to come on, when we caught the end of This Old House.  "Do you have damage laminate counter tops?" Tom asked.  "You can patch them in a jiffy," he then claimed.  We watched on in amazement as the Hand of Providence delivered a perfect watermelon pitch to which we could deliver a DIY home run smack.
We followed the instructions we had just seen, but with our aptitude for turning even the simplest home improvement projects into full blown doozies, we also pulled up the instructions on my blackberry.  The gist of the project is that you iron a piece of laminate no one will miss (like behind a stove), salvage a piece that will fit where you need it patched, then iron the patch on to the damaged spot.  The iron re-engages the laminate glue.  We wanted to pre-heat our iron so it was screaming hot and ready to go.  Thank goodness the kegerator/work bench/mail catch-all was ready to do double duty as an iron stand.
We looked around for a good salvage piece, eying up this loose counter top trip by the stove.  Really, this piece was a candidate for a re-glue, so we just ironed her flush against the edge again.  Settling on a piece that was loose behind the fridge, Mr. Palindrome went to work measuring and scoring a piece that was about 1/4" longer than we needed.  Before he was used to me always up in his grill taking pictures for the blog, he used to say, "Really? Really? Do you have to stand in my light?"  Now he knows it's futile to ask that question and that the fastest way to get me to move is to let me get the shot.
To activate the glue and render our salvage piece tacky enough to peel off, Mr. Palindrome then ironed the piece we had scored.  Since he had the military ironing training, Mr. Palindrome ironed that laminate like a pro.  If that laminate was a pair of tighty whities, Mr. Palindrome would have ironed it into a 6"x6" square in about 15 seconds.  Thank goodness the military has it's ironing priorities straight, or else we'd be relying on Spray&Release Wrinkle Remover in a refreshing linen scent.
At this point in our marriage, I was smitten every time I saw Mr. Palindrome's wedding ring while he was performing every day activities.  Oh wow, isn't his hand so dreamy? All scoring and ironing and being an all around home renovation god?  That's what female hormones do to a girl.
Yes!  Operation Salvage a Piece of Laminate was accomplished.  On to phase two after tapping out our keg of Sam Adam's Seasonal (Winter Lager . . . mmmmmm).
Just kidding.  We don't drink and do home renovations.  That could be dangerous.  Don't worry, I'll kick Captain Obvious off of the blog now.

Since up until this point I had been hogging all the good light, snapping pictures an inopportune times, and promising not to blog pictures of Mr. Palindrome making funny faces, he decided I should do my fair share.  "You're the Art Major right?  Cut this straight!" he ordered.  My fingernails, still bright red from my wedding manicure, worked those scissors like a pro, resulting in a clean cut.
Before ironing this bad boy on, we had to score a clean edge and iron the counter where the pieces would joist together.
Once that small piece was removed, Mr. Palindrome took charge of the iron once more to glue our salvage piece in place.
Me and my red fingernails helped hold it in place while Mr. Palindrome's OCD iron, which he permanently labeled as his own with a black sharpie, finished its work.

Turns out that after you iron something for a while, it's really too hot to handle.  After learning that lesson the hard way, Mr. Palindrome pressed the piece securely with an oven mitt.  There's that ring again - Hubba, Hubba!
Just to intimidate you, we took a finished picture with our box cutter in the background.  Yeah, we're big.  We're bad.  We're the big, bad home renovatin', This Old House watchin', OCD ironin', red nail polish wearin' machine!
And we have a patched counter top to prove it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Festival for the Eno

People watching.  What a pastime.  It doesn't matter if it's the streets of New York City or a local diner, I could people watch like it was my full time job.  I've lived in Durham for about 6 months and have missed some of my favorite people watching spots, particularly the DC Metro and more recently the north end of Virginia Beach.  Thankfully, I found a weekend quick fix this 4th of July - The Festival for the Eno!
The Eno River State Park holds an annual arts festival with live music, art exhibits, and children's activities.  The setting is surreal, like a scene out of Sherwood Forest.  You cross foot bridges over winding brooks and hike through gnarled tree roots.

I didn't have a festival map, so I let the crowd carry me with the flow.  I happened upon a secluded swimming hole and watched children skip rocks.  They spotted minnows.  They screamed when their toes sunk into the squishy sediment. 
Besides artists and crafters hawking wares ranging from detailed stained glass windows to folk paintings to hand woven baskets, park rangers and volunteers staffed wild life booths.  Snakes, owls, and gators, Oh my!
The park incorporates a green energy source with their water wheel.  Just when you think you can't handle anymore granola or hippies, sweet processed food saves the day!  Hello ice cream shaped carnival concessions!
Sausages? Fries? Coca-Cola to wash it all down? Yes, PLEASE!
You can't be too hasty in choosing your lunch in s situation like this, or else you might end up getting a burger and then come along a funnel cake station.  With just a few dollars in cash, I hoarded those precious bills until just the right combo struck my fancy.
A 10 gallon cup of fresh squeezed lemonade and a corn dog hit the spot.  You know, the spot right between a coronary and heartburn.
To make myself feel more like a responsible human being afterwards, I headed over to the trash free zone.  My corn dog stick and paper plate found themselves in the compost bin while my big gulp headed to the recycling bin.  Cool.  And heartburn free.

Friday, July 2, 2010

C'mon Baby Light My Fire

You know how sometimes you walk into a store and the price tags make your eyes bug out a little?  Maybe that store is JC Penny for you.  Maybe that store is Neiman Marcus.  In any case, we all have that store.  I call it my, "Look but don't Touch" store (If I broke anything, I couldn't afford to buy it).

Here in Durham, we have a pretty nice mall with a couple of "Look, but don't Touch" stores.  In fact, there's one store I rarely enter.  I'm afraid that my eyes will be so buggy, that the sales rep will immediately know that I'm the type of person who could trip on a rug and smash a display bowl with $16 a pop decorative balls into smithereens at any moment.  Mr. Palindrome has no such qualms.  He saw bathroom hardware through the window so he dragged me in to "see if there was anything we might need."  Well, momma (for some reason I've been calling myself that in the third person since we got married - Mr. Palindrome hates it, therefore, I use it more), saw something she might need.
 Hello SAILOR!  Look at the amazing details!  Nautical and worldly.  Leggy, yet sturdy.  AND we had been looking for a pair of lamps for our family room.  I broke my cardinal rule and my fingers slipped up to the nape of the lamp's neck.  Trembling, fumbling.  I reached for the tag. $395.  "Don't let your eyes bug, don't let your eyes bug, breathe, don't let your eyes bug, carefully retrieve your arm and walk quickly back to the center of the aisle," I told myself.  "You see a ghost or something?" Mr. Palindrome was unaware of my sticker shock.  He casually said nice lamp, flipped the tag and announced, "That is ridiculous."  With that, we left Restoration Hardware.

I just couldn't get that lamp out of my mind though.  I stalked TJ Maxx, Ross, and Home Goods for anything similar.  Then I turned to the internet.  Sweet, glorious internet, come to my lamp salvation!

This version from Bellacor is almost half the price of my Royal Marine beauty at $209, but still outside the range that I was willing to pay for something that I couldn't sit on.

This Kenroy Surveyor lamp from Office Depot is about half off the Bellacor lamp.  At $109, we're getting close, but still no cigar.