Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Giveaway on e. louise!

I met e. louise through our blogging stint on Weddingbee.  I admire her a great deal and was so glad that I could contribute to her month long blog dedication to raising awareness about Lupus.  Check out her site for facts about Lupus, her personal story and this last giveaway.

Here's a sneak peek:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Finds - Hammered Metallics

The hammered earrings spoke to me.  They said, "Melinda, we're earthy.  We're primal.  You want us on your ears."  I said, "Ok, I'll buy you. And I'll put you in Friday Finds."

Clockwise from Top L:
Fairyfolk - Hammered Copper Bowl with 6 White Felted Stones
You Dig it the Most - Searchin' for a Heart of Gold
Crazy Daisy Designs - Favorite Hammered Hoops
Diament Designs - Vintage Hammered Cuffs

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Walk for Animals

I felt like I was living in Sandra Boynton's Doggies book this past Saturday as I walked around the Duke Campus to raise money for the Animal Protection Society of Durham.

One wrinkly dog.

Two long dogs.

A well dressed dog.

A wall walking dog.

Six tails wagging.

A thirsty dog.

Skinny dogs.

Happy dogs.

Tired and happy dogs.

I think we all felt like this dog (and see his cute look a like stuffed animal?!) by the end of the sunny walk.  The dogs were super smart and would just plop down under any tree along the route to rest.  You could see the attitudes on the dogs change from the starting line - Woooohoo! I'm on a walk! I love walks! I love people! - to the finishing line - Why me? Why so long? It's nap time!

Do you have a dog?  Describe him/her for me, Sandra Boynton style!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quail Eggs

Our CSA delivery service, Papa Spud's, offers much more than bushels of kale.  Besides veggies, meat, salsa and baked goods that I've already tried, they also now offer eggs and dairy.  When I saw quail eggs on the order page, I gazed longingly at them wondering simultaneously what the heck I would do with them.
Thankfully, Papa Spud's also churns out some great recipe ideas.  They suggested baking these little beauts in croissants to make bite sized breakfast treats.  Trader Joe's provided the can of croissants and quails provided the farm fresh eggies.
I adore miniature things.  Just ask Mr. Palindrome.  He often holds up travel sizes at the store to see I want to add to my mini collection - he knows they're completely impractical, yet bring me so much joy.  Mini muffins, cup cake bites, cocktail weinies . . . I could go on and on.  No wonder I fell in love with these smooth and slightly sweet tasting quail eggs.
Ten minutes in the oven later, we were noshing on a fun brunch while watching Nat Geo.  I tried to pretty it up with some wilting cilantro, but between it's limpness and my clear dishes . . . now I fully understand why food should be photographed on white!
I used 6 for brunch and then hard boiled the other half dozen.  I ate all of them in one sitting.  Hehehe.  They're teensy :)

Have you cooked with quail eggs?  What's your favorite dish featuring these little gems?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fridays on the Front Porch

I don't often see little people.  I work in a corporate environment.  We don't have babies ourselves.  Mr. Palindrome never babysat or for that matter even held a baby until last year.  So it's always with great delight on my end and great trepidation on Mr. Palindrome's part that we interact with little people.

Our friends Melanie and Jed invited us to Fridays on the Front Porch this past weekend.  They brought their 18 month old, blue eyed cherub too!  Good tunes.  Good beer.  Good boy!
He was so psyched about the dogs and balloons.  Gotta love the simple joys.
Once his mom threw him up in the air, that's the only trick he wanted to have anything to do with.  So I threw for a while.
And after reassuring Mr. Palindrome that it was perfectly safe, he threw for a while.  It's awesome to see Mr. P grow more accustomed to the durability and cognizance of a tot.

At 10 minutes past bed time, it was time to go!

In our church group, there is a brand new baby as well, so we got a double of little people this weekend.  It's fun, overwhelming, amazing, inspiring and terrifying to interact with them.  For now, Friday on the Front Porch is the perfect dose for us :)

What's your kid dosage?  Do you already love kids, or are you still in learning/deciding mode?

Feeling Sad (and Mad at not Trusting Myself)

About a week ago, I blogged about an acquaintance and her custody battle.  Prior to blogging it, I was trying to dig to the bottom and find out the truth.  Namely, I requested a copy of the Court Order since it was public information and would include all of the Judge's considerations.  While waiting for it, the news blew up across the nation.  Since I believed that these media outlets would have thoroughly done their fact checking, I felt more comfortable repeating the information on my blog.

Sadly, it was wrong to trust.  Since the initial news broke, there have been a few updates.

This isn't even the most upsetting part to me.  Sure, I'm mad that I didn't hold out on the official documents and that I ended up contributing to the frenzy.  However, I'm VERY sad for the children in this case who seemingly cannot trust either parent to look out for their best interests.  After several astonishing and disappointing custody cases that I've personally seen, I can't help but be discouraged that the rawest end of the deal always goes to the children.  Children don't deserve the relatively more stable parent - they deserve parents who are actually stable. They deserve to be loved and not used as pawns in national media coverage.  

What do you think now?  If you were the judge, what would your decision be?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Finds - Happy Graduation

This week, I've been recovering from Mr. Palindrome's graduation.  Not only was it a big weekend filled with lots of pomp and circumstance, but we also had 7 relatives in town for the festivities.  With school winding to an end, our evenings have been filled with Durham bucket list items and farewells.

In honor of graduation, I collected a few owl finds this week.  For my high school graduation I received a few stuffed owl Beanie Babies wearing graduation caps.  Mr. Palindrome did not receive any of these momentos.  

One last comment before heading off for the weekend, that dress I'm wearing up there?  I'm a little conceited about it.  This is the 4th graduation it's seen: my high school graduation, my college graduation, my graduate school graduation and now Mr. P's graduate school graduation.  It was seriously the best $120 I ever spent at Ann Taylor! This go around involved a pair of Spanx, but goshdarnit, it still zipped!

Clockwise from Top L:
The Lazy Peacock - Vintage Brass Owl
Past Generation Books - Poetic Verses from North Carolina
Coco de Paris - Alphabet Owl

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blue Room Makeover!

It wasn't much when we started - just four walls and two windows:

The plan to paint and decorate for as cheaply as possible was simple.  I wanted a big impact paint job. Blue and yellow weren't prominent in my mom's decorating palette, so when I was faced with a wall of choices at Lowe's, I was immediately was drawn to these previously banned colors.  For our smallest guest room, I decided to take the plunge and use a bold blue that also spoke to cottages and china.  I was inspired by this photo on the Behr website:

This little bedroom makeover was the cheapest room in the whole house I think because it only required some paint, a sheet set, and new mini blinds.  In one morning, Mr. Palindrome painted it all by himself while my parents and I worked in other rooms.  This room came together so quickly because we ended up having several guests  within the first year of living there and it didn't require that much work. Take a look at the afters:

Here's the budget break down:

Paint (Behr River Valley) - $24.00
Down Comforter (Wedding Gift - Thanks Bergs!) - $0
Ralph Lauren Floral Sheets (Home Goods) - $40.00
Eyelet Bedskirt (Ebay) - $14.00
Eyelet Pillow (Home Goods Clearance) - $8.00
2 Mini Blinds (Lowe's) - $10.00
Guest Water Carafe (Home Goods) - $7.00
Milk Glass Lamps (Re-Store) - $4.00
Degas Drawing Prints (Inherited) - $0
Magazine Holder (already owned) - $0
Jewelry Holders (already owned, just spray painted white) - $0
Furniture (My bedroom set since I was 2) - $0
Accessories (Clock, doll house, etc - inherited) - $0
Total: $107.00

It's almost silly to have a whole post about it because the main work was just a quick paint job and making the bed!  Did you put together any rooms very easily? What do you think of the color?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Finds - Like Butter

I'm taking a break from my recent orange obsession and going with a subtle shade of butter yellow this week.  I came across the lovely Victorian bed frame first and knew I'd hit the jackpot.  I'm totally mixing my vintage decades by throwing in the Don Draper-style sweater.  The mix adds to the charm, no?


Clockwise from Top L:
emily MUSTARD - Pair of Vintage Butter Yellow Teacups
YLK Photagrphy - Like Butter Original Photograph
Fab Gabs - Vintage 60s Wool Sweater
Shop13 - Buttercream Cottage Headboard

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cancer, Custody and Difficult Compromises

I met Alaina in Durham through our amazing support system of Fuqua partners.  I've been in her home and eaten her delicious cooking.  She's had a rough go and was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago.  Recently, after a drawn out and nasty custody hearing, the judge cited her cancer as a reason to give custody to her ex.  It's very tough case and while there are two sides to every story, I want to draw attention to her story because the judge's focus on Alaina's health.  She started blogging about the injustice at Beauty in Truth and her support page is rallying the troops on Facebook.

Alaina has been interviewed by the local news, her story ran on Inside Edition and yesterday she was interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today Show.

Obviously, those who are suffering the most are the kids.  Sadly, there isn't an easy solution in this case. It's a tough economy for the ex to find a job locally and Alaina's cancer treatment is here in Durham.  I hope for their sake that a compromise can be reached, because other wise the biggest losers are the children.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Naming Our Hypothetical Children

No, we're not pregnant.  Nor are we thinking about it in any this-is-real-we-have-a-time-frame-we-pulled-the-goalie-sort-of way.  Put that out of your head.  Especially you, Mom.

However, in all of our DINK glory, we have been discussing an ever important task associated with baby making.  Just when we thought we had a wedding reprieve, it's only been replaced with baby announcements.  You may think we're horrible people, but when you're sitting at home with your little bundle of joy, cooing at them and being drunk in love with your baby, Mr. Palindrome and I are sitting on our couch with a beer, a paused Netflix movie and our judgement of your choice of names.

We would never say it to your face, but our couch has heard many of our uncharitable judgments.

"What were they thinking?"
"If you had a family name like that, wouldn't you just abandon it?"
"That sounds like a boys name.  No wonder nobody can tell what the kid is."
"Seriously? With a Y? So low brow."

During one of our Friday night analyses sessions, I threw out some solid favorites of mine.  As it turns out, Mr. Palindrome has very strong opinions about my favorites.

"Those are Grandma names!"

This conversation devolved into me emphatically stating: "I push! I name!"  To which Mr. Palindrome retorted that he would just call the hypothetical child whatever he wanted, regardless of the birth certificate.

Since this topic repeatedly comes up every time we get a Care Calendar Meal email, we've continued our discussion.  After the Royal Wedding, I threw out Charles.  Yes! Sweet agreement.  Classic, strong, acceptable nicknames!  It was later confirmed when Mr. Palindrome sent me this email:

SUBJ: ideas for baby names?
MSG: http://techcrunch.com/2011/04/27/linkedin-takes-a-data-dive-to-examine-whats-in-a-professional-name/

Mr. Palindrome is all the more convinced that Charles is the name for us since it has international CEO power.

Right.  So we have one boy name that we agree on.  What if it's a girl?  I'm not naming a girls Charles, so in an effort to plug my old fashioned favorite, I looked at the Social Security's list of top 5 names over the last century.  Turns out my favorite girl's name and our favorite boy's name were popular in the same decade! 

I loaded up my ammunition and took aim.  "Hey Mr. P!  If Margaret is a Grandma name, then Charles is a Grandpa name!"  He resisted my logic and contended that Charles has held a more popular place than Margaret over the century.  So I looked for a tiebreaker.  I turned to the source of all internet truth: Wikipedia.  According to the Margaret page, Margaret is the 13th most popular name as recorded in the 1990 U.S. census.  Holding strong, I'd say!  Or there are a lot of octogenarians still kicking!  I'm still going to take the ultimate stand that the pusher has final say.

Do you have spats over naming hypothetical children?  Are you judging our old, fogey favorites? :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Finds - The Golden State

California has been on my mind lately as we play resume roulette.  Mr. Palindrome is graduating and he's been canvassing all the way to the four corners (literally: Austria, Singapore, San Fran, Houston, New York).  California is a fun day dream because I've only been there twice visiting.  There's something right-of-passagey about heading out West.  Do you have location day dream?

Clockwise from Top L:
Lucinda de Castro - Sunburst Hoops
Jons Creations - Vintage Draperies
Rhapsody Attic - Vintage Pitcher
the wheatfield - Going to California

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Turtle Crosses the Walk

Conversation after Mr. Palindrome sent me the following cell phone pictures while I was out of town:

Me: Did you take him back to the creek?

Mr. P: Oh, that's where came from?  Makes sense.  I didn't know how he got there! 

Me: So you just let him struggle the 18 turtle equivalent miles back to the creek?

Mr. P: I had a final exam to get to.  You're lucky you got pictures for the blog.

Me: I'm lucky, but he's still out there, probably stuck in the fence slats!  Poor guy!

Mr. P:  Who knows! He could have bitten me!

Me: Turtle neglecter! Scaredy cat!  His blood is on your hands.

Do you know anything about our visitor? He sure is a little cutie!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Grandpa's Email Address

You may have thought as a homeland security specialist that I would have a lot to say today.  And I do, but not about OBL, at least not on the blog (email me though and I'll be sure to give you all my opinions!). I've been wanting to vlog for a while but didn't feel like I had a story to tell.  Then in New Orleans, I told a fun story and the gals mentioned it on Facebook, which made other blog friends want to hear the story.  Without further adieu, my vlog debut:
Do your grandparents use email?