Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Getting My Bond Girl On

Because there aren't enough occasions to dress in head to toe sequins . . . I took full advantage of Mr. P's company holiday party. The theme was "007" and I think I double-O-nailed-it. Thanks to Rent-the-Runway, hair clip and falsie lashes, I felt like a million bucks.

And because we know how to have a good time, we impersonated Charlie Chaplain and Beyonce (see, I'm half way to perfectly puckered lips with attitude, just ahead of the camera's time).

A very Happy New Year to all my blog friends! May you have a reason to ring in the year with sparkles!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas

Our holiday cards went out piecemeal style from the day after Thanksgiving until just yesterday. It was a season of slow progress for me with half of the tree trimmed one week, the rest trimmed another week and the table settings never making it to their places at all. But living so far from family and friends on the East Coast, I wanted to connect and write as many hand written notes as my little pen could muster. Mr. P swooped in and penned a few himself to help us send them all on their Merry way before Christmas.

I wanted to share it with you all and some never before seen pictures from our summer Alaskan adventure! One of these days, I'll tell you the tale of climbing on that glacier (right most picture).

From the Palindromes to you, Happy Holidays blog friends!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Finds - Thanksgiving Leftovers

I love Thanksgiving food. As in, I start eating mini-Thanksgiving meals starting in early November. I load up on mashed potatoes, roast turkey, green beans and dressing at the Whole Foods bar. At Boston Market. At diners. Etc. Basically, anywhere I can get a Thanksgiving inspired meal, I eat one.

By the time Thanksgiving day rolls around, I'm just about ready to move on. I marked a few recipes that I can incorporate leftovers into with a fresh twist that doesn't resemble a traditional holiday plate at all. If you're not into straight up leftovers like me, you might enjoy these options as well! And if you're thinking about maintaining healthy eating through the holidays, there are a few fresh salad options too :)


Clockwise from Top L:
Country Living - Turkey and Green Apple Salad with Mint Dressing
Southern Living - After Thanksgiving Pizza (corn and sausage? yum!)
Martha Stewart - Turkey Cobb Salad
Giada de Laurentiis - Turkey Bolognese

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Finds - NaNoWriMo Necessities

Because I didn't write for myself for nearly 3 months, I've had the itch. My blogging break felt right and good, but the urge to write just didn't lie down and hibernate through the fall. In fact the story has been building and for the first time I joined National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

I quickly found a few friends to be my writing buddies and we've already discussed where and when the words will flow - coffee shops and wine bars for the win! It made me think about my favorite writing gear and one big wishlist item. I'm a huge fan of handwriting as there's something about the physical act of scribbling that seems to embolden my thoughts into a cohesive story. I'm sure some people feel that way about typing, but for me there's a romance of pen to paper that can't be replaced. My favorite pens lay on the gel ink thick and consistent and my favorite notebooks are unlined and roomy. Endless cups of coffee and tea are a must (cemented by my semester in Bath, England where sipping hot beverages was practically a job in and of itself).  My new dream machine is the Windows Surface.  All the power of a laptop in a tablet. I only wish they were giving me one for saying so.

TGIF and happy NaNoWriMo-ing!

Clockwise from Top L:
Microsoft - Surface
Pier 1 - Confetti Mug
Office Depot - Uni Ball Vision Elite Gel Pen
Barnes & Noble - Sketchbook

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tricks and Treats to You and Yours!

So that was unintentional blog sabbatical. It ended up happening for no particular reason and yet a lot of reasons. I had things to say. I had pictures to share. I had content and intent. It just didn't happen. I actually have a lot of reflections on what's been going on during my blog break and I hope to implement a manageable blog schedule soon.
In the meantime, we had a super fun Halloween. Instead of spending an insane amount of money on costumes at the very last minute and wading through the worst costumes at Spirit of Halloween, I was on my game and we started reviewing costume options back in September.  I loved Jon Snow and Ghost, Mary Poppins and a Chimney Sweep, and Tom Hanks and Wilson.
Mr. P is actually pretty hard to please in the costume department.  He doesn't like wigs, tights, bright colors, going shirtless, off the wall jokes, etc.  In fact, every costume I've seen him in has been a variation of normal street clothes.  So after he vetoed what seemed like 100 of the cutest costume ideas ever, we were left with a collection of very doable, low cost options using mostly clothes we already had on hand.
We happened to be buying kitty litter one day when I saw an adorable sailor costume for Oliver. I figured it loosely fit the theme of a couples costume I had already pinned and thus the Rubinstein Family Halloween Theme was cemented: USA War Propaganda. 

Anyone who has ever tried to dress up a cat, hold a cat, or take a picture of a cat knows that achieving all three while still smiling is darn near impossible. Yet it results in hilarious outtakes that are perfectly scary for Halloween:

  Happy Halloween from Rosie the Riveter, a WWI Flying Ace and Attack of the Sailor Kitty!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Retro Redesign - Moroccan Family Room in Lone Mountain

There's such a low inventory at this point that this fixer upper in Lone Mountain is the only residence for sale in the entire neighborhood! At $799,000, it's a steal considering the location and walk score, but it obviously needs some serious TLC.

The front landscaping needs a haircut ... but there's some good bones there with the tile roof and arched front entrance.  Inside, it's a blank slate. The kitchen and baths look like they need to be gutted, but the floors look like they might be salvaged. The fireplace really spoke to me. Maybe it could use some decorative tiling?

With Spanish style exterior and the first spark of inspiration with tiling the fireplace, I decided to go whole hog and inject the entire space with some Moroccan flavor.  When I saw this colorful interpretation that relies heavily on wood tones as well, I thought it hit the mark. Christmas stockings optional of course. :)

These are some of the key pieces to incorporate into the room (outside of a good floor refinishing!). Just add a neutral sofa and you've got yourself an inviting haven while you wait out the kitchen remodel in the rest of the house.

Clockwise from Top L:
Joss & Main - Krista Accent Table
Rakutan - Lumpy Knit Throw
Wayfair - Wood and Metal Cross Set
Rosenberry Rooms - Moroccan Pouf
Joss & Main - Atwater Shag Rug
Overstock - Jali 4 Panel Room Divider

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Belated Pinterest Challenge: Bookcase Styling

I'm about 9 weeks late to the Summer Pinterest Challenge.  I saw the challenge, accepted the challenge, participated in the challenge, documented the challenge, then failed at posting the challenge.  Excuses, blah blah blah, procrastination, blah blah.  Anyways, to the before picture - this is what I was working with:

We have A LOT of books, knick knacks, pictures, a jewelry stand, sports paraphernalia, and some storage boxes.  It wasn't working. It looked cluttered and chaotic.  I took to Pinterest for some inspiration, especially searching for Expedit shelving style:

In addition to inspiration, I also brought in the big guns. My MIL is an interior decorator and she lent her expert eye to our mess. We started by taking everything off the shelves. We sorted the books and accessories. Then we started playing. We tried books in several different cubbies. We tried symmetry and asymmetry.  We went shopping in the rest of the apartment, gathering items that we thought might work. The results are a much simpler, open design. But it still wasn't quite right. There wasn't enough contrast. Accessories were lost in the cubbies. We settled on a simple and cheap solution.  I stapled a swath of burlap to the back of the bookcase and voila! That's the kind of cheapo Ikea hack I like!

I was feeling so confident about my new found bookshelf styling skills, I attacked our small built in nook in the hallway and ended up with a fun color grouped scheme.

The fog really limited the natural light in the house the day I took the pictures, but you get the idea. I'd love to change these out a bit more seasonally. You can see a small, pink glass rabbit candy dish and a champagne glass of blue robin eggs in this photo. Those are Easter leftovers that I still haven't change out! After a few more months of scavenging and collecting, I hope to have a 4 season rotation of little items. It's one of those things that just makes me smile when I pass by the hall. :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Feline Separation Anxiety

Our Grandma's cat routinely acted out vindictively upon her return from a trip. She would describe his behavior as being mad that he had been left behind. I've heard other such tales of acting out to include vocal disapproval, extra aloofness and pottying outside of the box. Thankfully, Ollie hasn't seemed to be too affected by the semi-regular trips we take. In the past, Oliver has been extra lovey upon our return. I figured he was just a cool cat, who was happy we were home. However, yesterday, his lovey actions heightened into a clingy-ness that we haven't seen before.  On a normal day of me working from home, he might spend an hour or two by my side on the couch. Yesterday, he climbed into my lap every time I was sitting.  He followed me through the apartment, rarely letting me out of his sight. When I ran a few errands, he was waiting at the door (not unusual) and pawing it with urgency (unusual).

I've seen dogs suffer from separation anxiety, but have never heard of a cat experiencing the phenomenon. You already know I'm a crazy cat lady, and am probably being neurotic, but I've gotta ask - does your cat suffer from separation anxiety?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Finds - Sherbet Summer

June gloom has settled upon the city and so has my mood. Since San Francisco summer is still a few months away, I created a summery inspiration collection. Apparently I'm on an elephant kick too as this is the second elephant accessory featured this week!

Clockwise from Top L:
The Pink Pagoda - Orange Chinoiserie Floral Elephants
J. Crew - Loretta Dress in Eyelet
Banana Republic - Millie Collection Enamel Lock Bangle in Pool Green
Joss & Main - Home Pillow

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our FURminator Review

The price is no joke. Over 50 bucks for a cat brush? It's a bit hard to choke that one down. But when it went on sale at Petco (as it is now) and when I had enough points to redeem a coupon for another $5 off, we decided to test it's claims. 

We've been using the FURminator for several months now and I feel that there is a noticeable difference in Oliver's shedding.  Particularly during the week after a brushing, I believe there is much less shedding. Obviously it's hard to measure because I don't collect all of the little tumble weeds throughout the house and weigh them to compare week to week.  And Mr. P says he doesn't notice a difference. So I only have my subjective opinion that the FURminator cuts down on extra hair.

One thing that isn't subjective is the difference between what the FURminator collects during a brushing and what our previous comb did.  Our previous comb was lucky to collect 10 hairs while about 20 more were spurned into the air.  The FURminator collected this after about 2-3 minutes of brushing:

Now, I'm not getting paid for this review and FURminator doesn't know I exist.  I paid for the brush myself and just think it's a good product.  I think the ROI, especially in a multiple pet household, would be positive for the FURminator and I'm glad we have one. Oliver isn't thrilled by it, but he does find it curious and will eventually lay down so that I can finish his brushing.

Speaking of Oliver, if you're not following us on instagram @palindromeathome, you're missing gems like this:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Retro Redesign - Excelsior Mod Bathroom

Excelsior is a southern neighborhood of San Francisco with good values relative to the city.  Good value is also a kind of code for needing some TLC. I chose a house for the redesign this week because I think the interior doesn't currently reflect the style of the exterior.  The interior is in good shape and maintenance, but not my taste. As you know by now, I'm a fan of keeping the spirit of the house alive in the decor as well.

The exterior is 70s-licious in all its boxy mustard glory. I might add some subtle changes like painting the brick planter and the house numbers white for a little more contrast.

And then we have the interior. Someone obviously loved some old world style. I just don't feel it's reflective of the house's character.  It's a bit cluttery and overworked in my opinion.

If I were to redo it, I would go with a look more in tune with a retro color scheme and modern lines. Something more with this flavor from a home tour featured on Belle Maison:

To achieve this look I think the following pieces would introduce the right color palette while still being fun and minimalistc:

Clockwise from Top L:
Home Depot - Martha Steward 3-light Vanity Fixture
Pool Pony Design - Aquarium Print
Home Decorators - Parsons Wall Mirror
Joss & Main - Benevuto Vase Decor
Joss & Main - Faux Spider Mum Arrangement
Pool Pony Design - Blue Love Birds
Cotton Bath Towels - Two Turkish Towels, Mustard and Turquoise
Joss & Main - Elephant Statue

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

All We Needed was a Stair Car

We ate frozen bananas, rode Segways and I broke out my chicken dance.  It was an Arrested Development  themed weekend, albeit unintentionally!

My friend and I bought our husbands a Segway Off Road tour around Christmas time.  They booked up super fast and we only got around to cashing in on them Memorial Day weekend. We decided to make a mini-weekend trip out of stopping at Alameda, Danville and Livermore along the way.

The East Bay gets this sortof you-move-there-when-you-have-kids-or-retire-suburban-purgatory reputation, but during our little trip, I remembered all the beauty of suburbia.  Wide open spaces, yards, cute towns, easy parking and spectacular views from San Francisco to San Jose.

We started in Alameda and completed about half of this SFGate walking tour. Our favorite stop was Tucker's Ice Cream where I got the butterscotch swirl and Mr. P couldn't resist the chocolate frozen banana. There's always money in the banana stand ice cream shop.

From there, we headed out on what we thought was a three hour tour.  A three hour tour.  Drew, our intrepid Segway tour guide, gave us our money's worth and then some with a 5 hour tour.  Drew is a local character who knows a lot of history about Oakland, has a passion for forestry and can drop more names than you're annoying co-worker.  It was a hilarious introduction to the regional park system of Oakland and Segway off-roading.  We're already contemplating the Marin tour he leads.

On the recommendation of Sunset Magazine, we decided to bed down near Danville to explore the little town and then hike in Las Trampas Wilderness.  We had burgers and fries at Pete's Brass Rail and Car Wash while we swore everyone in there looked like they were 16-years-old.  Seriously, when did the 21-year-old set start looking baby-faced? Oh, that's right, when we push 30.  Huh. Either that or they were serving underage.  Let's go with a crime rather than us getting old.

Hiking the ridge in the Las Trampas Wilderness kicked our butts after we got spoiled on the Segways! For being Memorial Day weekend, both the Oakland regional park and Las Trampas were havens of practical solitude.  We came across very few other hikers and had relatively clear views for the season.

Top photo courtesy of Segway Off Road, bottom photo courtesy of our friend

When we hit up the Livermore Outlets we figured where all the people were.  Shopping tested our agility, endurance and stamina way more than the morning's hike! The Livermore Outlets are kindof swanky and we were kindof stanky in all of our hiking glory. I walked away with out buying one thing.  I tried to get a Frappucino towards the end of the day, but the 20 person line at Starbucks dissuaded me.

By the time we got home, I couldn't have been more ready to put on stretchy pants and watch the new season of Arrested Development. To warm up, we watched the old series finale then jumped straight into two new back to back episodes.  I think we would give the previous seasons 5 stars and this one maybe 4 stars.  Not altogether awful, but not quite as funny as we remember.  C'mon!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Retro Redesign - Parkside Bungalow Bedroom

Word.  It's Wednesday and time for another Retro Redesign!  The inventory actually looked higher to me this week in San Francisco and I wanted to feature a lesser known neighborhood.  Parkside is part of the Sunset District and while it may not boast the same thrills as say the Mission or Castro, it's AFFORDABLE! (Well, relatively in SF.)  When I saw this sweet bungalow for just under 600k, I wanted to see more.  With a smidge of imagination and a few trips to Lowes (imagine even a trimmed lawn!), I think the curb appeal can be pumped up to super cute.

It's a teeny little starter home at just 900 sq. ft., but the large attic master bedroom option really drew me in to the house.

The pictures look like the previous sale in 2009 and boast a sad attempt at staging. Talk about a bed in a bag and table lamps sitting on the ground.  Boo to the hoo on that.  Look at the potential in here though!  On the other side of the attic, there's room for cute sitting area or office too.

I thought something cottage inspired with a natural or seaside twist would make this space retreat worthy.  I found inspiration from Des Moines of all places. It just goes to show that no matter where you are, you can capitalize on the good bones of your home and build from there.

des moines bungalow bedroom window

After a little browsing and searching, I settled on a few key pieces I think would achieve this look.

Clockwise from Top L:
Benjamin Moore - Paint in Bali, Linen and Falcon Brown
Joss & Main - Cubist Wall Clock
Ten Thousand Villages - Resplendent Rooster Pillow
Joss & Main - 3 Piece Kelly Planter Set
Restoration Hardware - Belgian Linen Bedding (on sale right now)
Overstock - Bali Wood Side Table (40% off similar table at West Elm)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Finds - Emergency Kits

The NERT training I've received, combined with coverage of the Oklahoma tornadoes, stresses the urgency of having an Emergency Kit in one's home.  It's a simple precaution that could mean the difference between surviving a major disaster and not.  Of course, you'll have to tailor your kit for any particularly likely natural disasters in your area, but there are several items everyone should have at the ready.

Clockwise from Top L:
Amazon - Heavy Duty 4 in 1 Utility Shutoff Tool
Cell Phone Stop - Mini Solar Charger
Amazon - 5 in 1 Survival Whistle
Amazon - Red Cross First Aid Kit
Walmart - MagLite
Vermont's Barre - MRE Rations
iTunes - NOAA Weather App

Find complete lists suggested by FEMA here: Basic Disaster Kits

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Look What the Mama Dragged In

I promise, I was walking around and minding my own business.  Mr. P thinks I go looking for strays to take in, but my defense claim is that I'm Type A and know that I will see the situation to a beneficial resolution.  On my way to our neighborhood cafe, I came across Quinn, an energetic fellow running off leash.  It wasn't completely out of he blue as a big park is nearby and dogs often are off leash chasing frisbees.  I asked around to some morning commuters if they recognized the dog and cyclist said, oh yes, his house is right there.  As it turns out, the garage door was slightly ajar which left this pup to his own Houdini devices.

I called both numbers on his collar ID tag (PSA - keep these updated!) and he was united with his mamas within a few hours.  To keep him safe from the street, I waited with him at our house. Oliver curiously tried to engage Quinn, but to his never ending dismay, this dog didn't want to be friends with him.  I swear, he's the friendliest cat and poor little guy just faces rejection after rejection!

Quinn's mama gave me a cafe gift card as a Thank You and I've been enjoying lattes for my pet responsibility for the past several weeks.  No, thank YOU Quinn!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Retro Redesign - North Beach

I'm venturing in Italian territory this week to suggest a few little redesign options for a more recently built condo (and the only place available for under a million in the neighborhood).  The outside of the building in North Beach has hints of Tuscan villa charm with the warm paint and clay tile roofing.

The 2 BD/2BA has a private, darling patio that fits along nicely with the modern take on old world Italian style.

But the interior.  Oh the sad, flavorless interior.

It's the exact opposite of what an inviting, warm feeling you should have after entering the space.  Without altering the flooring (which would be a huge, but worthwhile investment), I think a few quick cosmetic changes could give a face lift that would tide you over until you saved your pennies for a more extensive renovation.  I'm thinking something more along these lines:

Tuscan Dining Room Montaluce

To achieve this look I think these items, appropriately scaled, would really put you in the mood for a big bowl of spicy chorizo pasta (rather than the rubbery plain chicken the current scheme suggests!):

Clockwise from Top L:
Pottery Barn - Pillar Lantern
Overstock - Italian Olive Wood Mixing Spoon
West Elm - Turned Pedestal Bistro Table in Mango Wood
The Shutter Store - Wood Louvered Shutters
Williams-Sonoma - Vine Floral Boutis Table Runner
Overstock -Safavieh Deco Bacall Ivory Slip Cover Side Chair

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Over the River and Through the Woods

To my house, Grandmother came!

My sweet, 5 foot nothin', nearly 80-year-old grandma flew across America and landed in California for the very first time in her life.

She tasted tea and scones at high tea ... for the very first time in her life.

She set sight on the Pacific Ocean - an ocean she had heard about only from my grandpa's recollections of sailing it on his way to the Korean war, an ocean she had only seen on TV and in pictures - for the very first time in her life.

She surrendered her very limited palette to a full on culinary assault of the senses tasting pesto, avocado, Swiss cheese, panini and frozen yogurt for the very first time in her life.

When I asked her why she had never eaten Swiss cheese before, she said, "Well it looks funny."

In all of the firsts, I became keenly and freshly aware of the privileged  globetrotting life I take for granted. I've left the international dateline in the dust. I've eaten octopus, alligator and elk.  I've been to three continents and intend on making it to all seven.

I also realized the joy of experiencing firsts well into your 70s and I hope that I can approach firsts with as much enthusiasm as she does.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 4 proactiv+ Review

*Porky Pig stuttering* that's all folks.  

I've completed 4 weeks of proactiv+ treatment and don't see or feel a noticeable difference.  My T-zone is still a splotchy mess of white heads, black heads, large pores and cystic acne.  I received my replacement kit and returned it in the mail today.  I'm getting ready to pack up the nearly empty bottles I've been currently using to exercise the money back guarantee.  

While I'm disappointed in the final outcome, I'm glad I tried it and now know that it doesn't work for me (anymore).  I will keep trying different alternatives, but I think the most valuable thing I learned during this trial was the epiphany during week 2.  I am more than my skin blemishes.  After nearly two decades of struggling with acne, I'm one step closer to releasing myself from the impossible standard of perfect skin. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Finds - The Office Farewell

I'm a sentimental fool at times. I read this piece in the Washington Post, struck by how closely I identified with it. I reminisced with real life colleagues about our memories of the show and our attempts at pranking one another.  As we watched the retrospective, Mr. P and I recalled the cities and companies in which we worked during various seasons.

Then I cried.  I cried for what the show meant to me when I started my first job. For the many farewells I've said to colleagues who have become friends. For the difficult career decisions. For the unrequited, then requited love. For the decade of my 20s that is ceremoniously ending in step with TV friends' farewells.

It became more than a show because it was the vessel for sorting out all the complications of office politics and romance in the tumult of early adulthood. It was served with hilarity, making it that much easier to swallow. For that, I owe this art a debt of gratitude.

Now off to start at the beginning - Season 1: The Pilot. TGIF!

Clockwise from Top L:
The Home Depot - Kidde Pro ABC Fire Extinguisher
Office Depot - Swingline Stapler
NBC Universal Store - World's Best Boss Mug
Overstock - Green Apple Tea Kettle

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fly Slayer

The prey is sighted.

The prey is stalked.

The prey is tracked.

The prey is caught.

The prey is slain.