Home design

It’s only in the past year or so I have become interested in decorating our home beyond the “it’s cheap/free and/or will be easy to clean” criteria.

For example, the sofa and chair we have now we bought not long after we bought the house because the hand-me-down sofa we were using was just about on it’s last leg (well literally on it’s last 3 since we accidently broke one of them off). We bought the first ones that met our needs: 1) inexpensive 2) comfortable 3) it’s appearance didn’t make either one of us want to gag. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret the purchase at all and we still love both pieces, but there are a couple of things that I would change if given the proverbial time machine. To start, the arms are too bulky, with a space as limited as ours, they are just taking up valuable real estate. The back cushions are kind of a pain in the ass, we usually end up just throwing them on the floor. It’s not exactly the most durable construction, I don’t see it lasting us another 5 years, at least not without worrying about injury.

I don’t know exactly where I am going with this really, other than to say I have been giving the overall aesthetic of our home a lot of thought recently and have been trying to get a good idea of what “our style” is. We both like clean lines, nothing too ornate or overstuffed. I tend to lean more towards a Danish modern,  midcentury vintage feel that The Husband thinks is a bit “too Brady Bunch”. I think we are getting there though.

I am seriously loving this home tour over at desire to inspire.



The next week or so I should be starting the relatively large project of our living room. After some water damage (reeeeally long painful story that I am trying desperately to block out) to the ceiling, we have decided to scrape off all the acoustic ceiling and (hopefully) be able to do minimal patching and sanding and end up with a smooth ceiling. I will also be sanding, priming and painting all the walls and trim at the same time and installing a new ceiling fan. So that should be fun. I will try to get as many before, during and after pictures to share as possible.

Oh and next weekend is my 28th birthday! And I am getting my well-passed-the-shoulder-length hair chopped off next Tuesday. September is shaping up to be quite a month. Stay tuned.

A somewhat-calm after the storm


Ah, Gustav, we’re still here.

In the end, Gustav ended up not being quite as destructive as it was originally predicted, at least in our area. Other than some debris and continuing rain, we are no worse off than before. After preparing for the worse, we ended up only being without power for maybe an hour or so and that was after we had gone to bed.

From what I hear, however, there is quite a bit of damage done to our south, around Lafayette and Houma. Of course all you hear about is how easy New Orleans got off this time, you know as easy as a city that is below sea level in the flood plain of one of the largest rivers in the world that also happens to be in a hurricane zone can be expected to get off.

That being said, it’s not quite over for us yet. We still have about another month of the peak season and several more storms brewing in the Atlantic, so far Hanna, Ike, and Josephine. While none of them are particularly pressing for the Gulf just yet, if anything Gustav has reminded us that the only thing predictable about our weather down here is its unpredictability.

A Recipe: Charlie Browns


Charlie Browns, boiled cookies, chocolate oatmeal cookies, so many names for such a quick and easy tidbit. This is one of those treats that my grandma and my mom made for us many, many times when I was a child.

Charlie Browns
2 cups sugar
2 TBSP cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 stick oleo (margarine or butter)
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (The Husband likes chunky)
1 teaspoon vanilla

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Sunday Dinner with the Fam


Sunday we drove over to my parents’ house for supper. I am sure that if I had written this Monday I would have all kind of witty anecdotes to share but unfortunately it’s Thursday now and having been cleaning house in preparation for The Husband being on vacation next week (and therefore nothing getting accomplished probably), I am devoid of anecdote at the moment. Apparently I still retain the ability to craft one hell of a run-on sentence however. I did get some pictures to chronicle the day, so I think I will let them speak for themselves this time.

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A Tutorial: Photoshop Levels – Fast and Dirty

Mom asked how I got my pictures so bright, so I thought I would write a little tutorial. I am by no means an expert, I am just now learning what some of this stuff does, but just in case it can help someone, here goes:

Notes: I think this should work with just about any version of Photoshop, but for future reference, I am using Photoshop CS3.

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A Recipe: Fish Tacos


Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeños
1 red onion (about 12 ounces), halved lengthwise, cut thinly crosswise
5 whole small jalapeños
2 cups seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
Baja Cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lime peel
pinch of salt
Tomatillo Salsa Verde
12 oz tomatillos,* husked, stemmed, divided
4 green onions, white and green parts separated
1 jalapeño chile
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 1/4 cups (packed) fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lime juice
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
3 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 pounds skinless halibut, sea bass, or striped bass fillets, cut into 1/2×1/2-inch strips
16 corn tortillas
2 cups self-rising flour
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Fresh Salsa

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Whedon is my God.

This is quite possibly the awesomest thing since at least…December 9th, 2003. The internet + Joss + The Captain + Swarley = The Coolometer does not go that high.

Update: Joss Whedon’s ‘Dr. Horrible is a site-crashing success according to The LA Times Blog

And the Lord said…


What to do when experiencing yet another blackout, this time at midnight on one of, if not THE, hottest day of the year so far, in the middle of a Weeds episode?

Well, first, stumble around like Helen Keller in a prosthetic hand factory, looking for the torch you use to light the grill so that you can spend another 10 minutes or so trying to remember where you left the flashlight.

Then you drive around for a while to assess how widespread the blackout is, hurling curses and insults at those who still have lights, basking in your vehicle’s a/c. You also remark on the fact that, oddly enough, traffic actually seems a lot better when there are no traffic lights.

You come home, sit around, bitching and moaning. You decide to play with your camera in low light for a while. This amusement can only last so long however, because you only lit just enough candles to not be in total darkness so that the house doesn’t bear a striking resemblance to, say oh…the surface of the sun only, ya know, darker.


Finally, exhausted, you decide to just call it a night. Nevermind that you will have to lay on top of the covers and that it’s so quiet you are pretty sure you can hear the past. You take turns brushing your teeth by flashlight. You say good night, turn out the flashlight, sigh and wonder why this never happens in the winter when at least you could bundle up and go to sleep. You wonder how long it will take before you will be able to render yourself unconscious. Sigh.

Then, like at the end of a horror movie, you are bathed in glorious light. Sure, your retinas are now permanently scarred but you don’t care because your skin is now being caressed by moving air. You play Paper Rock Scissors to see who has to go make sure all the lights are turned off, you win. And then you sleep the sleep of the climate-controlled.


Good Deed Tip of the Day


Today’s tip: Always have an extra set of keys hidden in a safe place outside of your house. Whether at a trusted neighbor’s house, with a friend, in a safe (that does not require its own key), or some combination thereof. Because if you don’t, you will lock yourself out of your house at 7 o’ clock in the evening on a Sunday during a holiday weekend.

It all started yesterday evening when we dropped by our friends’ house to retrieve some tools they had borrowed. We arrive back home, I unlock the door and set the tools (and keys) inside, promptly get distracted by something in the yard and end up shutting the door. No big deal, right? Do it all the time.

Except this time, when I was jiggling the key to get it out of the lock, I somehow managed to relock the door before shutting. So there we were, every key we possess inside the house, the car also locked up tight (damned clicker thingies). So this is were the fun begins.

First, we think to ourselves “It’s fine, we’ll just go in through the garage” which then leads us to remembering that the garage door opener in the old truck…which is in the garage.  Ok, maybe we can brute force the garage door open. Nope, not even, will open a whopping 2 inches. Fine, garage is out….window? Nope, all windows in the house have long been painted shut by the rocket surgeons who previously owned the house. Extra keys? Both sets of parents have keys (30 miles away)…to the old lock which we replaced a couple of years ago. Did you take a key to the office when we changed the lock? Maybe. A maybe I will take.

So we borrowed our good neighbor’s cellphone to call aforementioned friend to ask if he could pretty please with sugar on top come pick us up and take us to the office to see if there was a key there. There is one! Voila! A key…to the old lock. /headdesk Ok maybe the old key fits more that just the front door and we just don’t remember? Worth a try. So Friend takes us back to the house with said key. Just for shits and giggle, we test it on the front door to no avail. Side door? Nada. Back door? No dice. About this time we decided to name any future children/pets we had after Willis Haviland Carrier.

We now proceed to verifying that indeed every single window that can be reached is painted shut (yep), we knock around the idea of breaking a window pane and have Friend’s youngest daughter climb through to unlock the door (very last resort), perhaps we could knock one of the older knobs off (second to last resort). Somewhere in all this Husband and Friend discover that on the back (double doors) while they are locked together, the bolt on the top of the door isn’t locked, just the bottom one. Without going into too much detail, we FINALLY got the bottom bolt undone and were able to open the back doors.

Yay for not having to call a locksmith at night on a holiday weekend or have to break out your own window!

As an aside, I now feel much safer. Anyone else would have given up trying to get into the house much sooner,  our neighbors would have definitely seen them before they got very far.

A one-armed wallpaper hanger


Well, so much for the posting on a regular basis. But instead of being just too lazy, I have actually been too busy.

We’re still working on the flower beds in the front (where we ran across the little fellow in the above picture), but we’re hoping to have that excavation portion done sometime this weekend. There are still a few things that need to be cut down/removed in various places, but those will have to wait until we can either acquire the necessary tools or find someone who can do it for us at a reasonable price. Then we will be all ready for planting in the fall. Hopefully I will have some pictures to share soon.

I also recovered some dining chairs for The Husband’s grandmother this week, but, of course, forgot to take any pictures. I was happy with how they turned out though and so was his grandmother, so I guess that’s all that matters.

Other than that I have just been trying to catch up with the housework that got pushed aside in my quest for a decent yard. It’s amazing how quickly it all piles up if you don’t stay on top of it.

Oh and our friends are moving to town so we have been helping them move and try out their new pool today. Exhausting but also fun.

Guess that’s about it, Happy 4th of July!