Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Kitchen, Lately

Daylight is fleeting when I'm doing most of my cooking these days, but I caught a few snaps of some recent noshes we've been chowing down on.

For Mr. P's birthday, I broke out the icecream maker (first time since pumpkin icecream last thanksgiving) and whipped up a batch of birthday cake icecream.

Then, after a ridiculously yucky pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks (boo on that new sugary formula), I went back to basics and made my own pumpkin spice creamer.  This stuff is the perfect amount of pumpkin and creaminess with none of the sugary aftertaste.

Then for the first time in my life, I cracked a double yolk.  I declared it was: "Twins!" Then I scrambled 'em must to the chagrin of Mr. P who wanted assurances they were "safe" to eat.  They were delicious.

What have been your favorites in the kitchen this month?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Endeavour Flyover

Feeling like a kid, I watched out my window.
Straining to see, I snapped a few false alarms pics.
It's a bird. It's a plane.
No, it's Endeavour! Flying over Twin Peaks.
Soaring over the fog.
Looping around.
Right over the Golden Gate Bridge.
And into the wild blue yonder.
It won't be on a space shuttle, but maybe I'll make it to outer space in my lifetime. It makes all my earth based dream vacations seem like silly jaunts.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oliver Loves the Guest Room

Somebody else really likes the guest room.

I'll give you three guesses as to who ....

Found the sunshiney spot that warms up the bedspread ...

Gives the comfort level of the room a wink and thumbs up ...

Thinks he's king of the roost and makes me shoot his better side ...

Which is actually both sides (he says with the confidence of Barney Stinson) ...

And has made himself pretty darn comfortable ...

Anyone want to cancel their reservation now?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Clara Barton Inspiration

After being back East for my brother's wedding, I was on a National Park kick. There are plenty in DC that I've already been to, but I wanted to visit a place that would be new to me. The Clara Barton house was perfect because on a hot weekend we found relief indoors and it worked out that Clara Barton's life met me personally, just where I am.

The amazing bit of Clara Barton's life that I never got from the little paragraph in my elementary school history book was her lifetime of careers and changes.  She's probably best known for founding the American Red Cross. But here's the inspiring chronology:

  • 10 years teaching school in Massachusetts (started at age 17)
  • Moved to NJ and established the first free public school there
  • Moved to DC and worked as a clerk (earning the same as her male colleagues!)
  • Tended wounded soldiers during the Civil War (from both sides)
  • Organized logistics of getting medical supplies to front lines
  • Organized the War Department's list of missing soldiers
  • Joined the Civil Right speaking circuit lecturing with Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Mark Twain
  • Traveled Europe for several years
  • Had a nervous breakdown and recuperated for several years
  • Founded and acted as President of the American Red Cross at the age of 60
  • Wrote a Book

Any one of these things is an accomplishment on the level that I hope to achieve during my life.  Similar to the Margaret Thatcher mantra, I think Clara Barton was the type of person to "do something" about it.  She saw problems and took leadership to get it done.  I was so inspired by the variance. Even having a nervous breakdown - she not only had a nervous breakdown, but she came back from it and had another 30 years of a career! It reminded me that life is a long game and seeming setbacks might just be the push of fate towards our true path.

As I prepped the picture above of my mom, grandma and me, I realized that the women in my life also represent a varied and wonderful life - from jobs they've held to lives they've touched.  My mom has been a banker, teacher, mother, speaker and writer. My grandma has been a mother, Harley rider, auctioneer, pre-school attendant, handmade artisan, grandma and now great grandma.

My visit to the Clara Barton house was unexpected lesson in feminism, careers and the path to helping those in need. Hats off to Miss Clara.  And hats off to the women in my life who have been modelling it as well.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Guest Room Reveal

A few short weeks ago, our extra bedroom was a storage locker and a sad substitute for the darling nursery it used to hold.  With some inspiration and can do attitude, we whipped it into shape for a series of amazing friends and family guests who have come to enjoy the California wine and weather.  Behold, our take on a vineyard B&B inspired guest room.

I wanted the bedding to feel like a treat and look luxurious.  I snagged this ruched bedding from BB&B with a coupon for a fraction of the inspiration PB version. I also hung most of our Italy inspired art in this room to weave the theme through.  The magazine basket in the corner is full of tourist pamphlets from Palindrome approved tours, maps and Sunset magazines.

We had to creatively hide the closet which had long ago lost it's door. A shabby chair from a beloved summer workplace works as a spot to put clothes or glasses and a book for guests.

 The lavender swag is cut and dried from my plant (and it totally reminds me of Mitch and Cam!).  The small prints are a collection of 5 that we inherited from Mr. Palindrome's parents.  They hung in various places in our NC home and I was so happy to bring them back together in this room.

It's not a large room and we feel like we brought all the furniture in that we could.  Ideally, we would have liked to put a small bureau and TV.  With guests from the East Coast, sometimes it would be nice if they felt comfortable in their room in the early evening or early morning as they adjust to the time difference.  Oh well, they can bring their computers and watch from bed!

One of my favorite details, one that I think just makes the room, is the sweet vignette painted on the headboard.  I also love how the little topiary on the night stand mimics the shape of the lone tree in the painting.

I love the wood floors in this room and we were lucky to have the originals in great shape.  The detail around the perimeter is a nice touch and I love the oriental rug we found that isn't matchy matchy, but just very classic and has a found look rather than a curated one.

The night stand is large and I wanted it to look put together while still having room for a phone, book, etc.  The lamp base is ceramic pottery like and the little topiary adds some nice color. The photo album houses my memories from studying abroad. The photograph is from my heritage wall which I haven't found the right place to hang quite yet.

Look cozy enough for a relaxing weekend?  Here's our budget breakdown:

Curtains (TJMaxx) - $15
Curtain Rods (Lowe's) - $17 x2
Headboard (Craigslist) - $50
Side table (Craigslist) - $75
Mattress/box spring/frame - $200
Sheets (TJMaxx) - $25
Bedspread (previously owned) - $0
Ruched Duvet (BB&B with coupon) - $105
Comforter (Macy's - Wedding Present) - $0
Pillows x 4 (TJMaxx) - $40
Shams (TJMaxx) - $13
Bed Skirt (BB&B) - $20
Rug (Craigslist) - $90
Chair (previously owned) - $0
Decorative throw pillows (previously owned) - $0
Throw (previously owned) - $0
Lavender (cut from garden) - $0
Floor Lamp (previously owned) - $0
Magazine basket (Crate & Barrel - Wedding Present) - $0
Art (previously owned) - $0
Lamp (TJMaxx) - $30
Topiary (TJMaxx) - $7
Bee Candle (TJMaxx) - $5
Leaf ring dish (TJMaxx) - $4

Total: $713

*Funny note: I got a ton of stuff at TJMaxx, but it was spread over 3 different TJMaxxs!