July 28, 2008

Living room redo

by Shelly

Recently I have been redecorating our very snug family room and dining room (if you can even call it that). When we moved into our place almost five years ago, we just used my existing furniture in the space since we didn’t really have the funds to buy all new stuff. My over sized sofa, chair, and ottoman didn’t look horrible, but it wasn’t exactly the ideal situation for the space. We also used the middle armoire unit of my entertainment center. The armoire which hold the tv and other audio equipment looks fine alone, but it did have two beautiful curved bookcases on either side. The room can barely hold the armoire let alone those two bookcases!

So, since having the little one and with her having more family over more often, we have been forced to finally conquer the space and seating situation in the room. I have already replaced the sofa, chair and ottoman with a nice L-shaped sectional with an open end on one side. We also ordered and are waiting for a leather tufted storage ottoman to replace our existing pine coffee table. The ottoman will be used to store magazines and remotes that the baby always tries to rip, eat, and totally destroy. My beautiful Thomasville tv armoire will either go into storage or be sold and in it’s place we bought a dark walnut colored corner armoire. The new piece will fit perfectly in the corner next to our fireplace and won’t block it as the old one currently does. Here are some pictures of the room pre-changes…

So now I’m trying to work on the windows in the room. The drapes seen in the picture above just aren’t working anymore. Little one year old LOVES to hide behind them, and pull on them…HARD!!! I’m worried that one day the whole thing will come crashing down. So what I’d like to do is to leave the bamboo roller shades on the three windows over the sofa, add the same shades to the windows with the existing drapes and get rid of the drapes completely. Then over the three windows above the sofa I’d like a long upholstered cornice to be placed over the tops of the roller shades, so that it will draw your eye up and make the room seem larger. I’d use the stripe fabric from the slipcovers on the dining chairs. Here’s the fabric on the chairs:

And here is the cornice I would like over the three windows above the sofa and also the window where the drapes are currently next to the armoire:

The dilemma is that the length of the windows above the sofa is soo long…120 1/4 inches to be exact! I’ve priced out cornices online at different sites and it’s going to appoximately $700 just for that one cornice. YIKES! Not what I wanted to spend at all. So I was thinking…why not do it myself?! I just don’t know how to do the fabric on a cornice that long. So today I think I’m going to try and figure the whole thing out and actually buy the materials to make the thing tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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July 28, 2008

Yaz Concert review!

by Shelly

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the other half and I went to see Yaz and the Psychedelic Furs at the OC Fair last Thursday. Since Reed and I are not exactly spring chickens anymore, we tend to feel quite old at most of the concerts we go to these days. However, it’s always great to attend an 80′s genre show because we feel like some of the youngest ones in there, which is a nice change!

I’ve seen the Psychedelic Furs play probably about 8 times or so. And sadly everytime I see them, the singer gets worse and worse. His poor voice is just not what it use to be. He can barely hit most of the notes and his voice overall is so much more raspy than it use to be. I know his voice just has that quality, but I’m sure years of smoking may have helped contribute to it’s demise.

But then there’s Yaz…. WOW! WOW! WOW! Freaking amazing! I was really young when the band was in it’s hayday (probably early elementary school), so I never attended concerts back then. I’m pretty sure however, that if I had gone to a show in the 80′s, that this show would have been exactly like then! The stage setup, the lights…it was oh so New Wave. Just brilliant! If you aren’t familiar with Yaz here is what Wikipedia says about them:

Yazoo (known as Yaz in the U.S.) are an English synthpop duo from Basildon, Essex. They had a number of top ten hits in the British charts in the early 1980s. It was formed in late 1981 by former Depeche Mode songwriter Vince Clarke (synthesizer) and English singer Alison Moyet (vocals), and was signed to Mute Records in the United Kingdom.
Yazoo’s debut single “
Only You” backed with “Situation,” was released on March 15, 1982 and rose to number two in the UK charts. Yazoo released successful studio albums, Upstairs at Eric’s in 1982 and the more successful You and Me Both in 1983. Shortly after, Moyet and Clarke decided to break up. Moyet pursued a solo career while Clarke founded Erasure, another synth pop group. Yazoo reunited in 2008 with a tour in Europe and the United States and the release of a four-disc box set. Though short-lived, Yazoo continues to influence and inspire many of today’s bands, including LCD Soundsystem, Shiny Toy Guns and Blaqk Audio.

So immediately my husband and I felt like total idiots. All these years both of us thought the singer was a man. Nope, very wrong indeed…the singer was Alison Moyet. Even as she started singing the first song, we both kept looking at each other saying, “But seriously, it sounds like a guy.” But as the concert progressed Alison started sounding more feminine to our ears. She was wonderful throughout the entire show. Her voice is just perfect! They played all the hits and some lesser known ones. And of course we danced our butts off!!! Actually the whole audience did. Everyone was moving and having a good time! That’s what makes a show for me. I love seeing everyone getting into the music and just letting go. Worth the price of admission and the hourly babysitter rate for sure.

We had a blast, ate a disgusting amount of junk food, and paid for it dearly come Friday morning. We were completely exhausted and our indigestion lasted until late Friday evening. Good times!

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July 24, 2008

Summer Cooking: Fish

by Shelly

Tried out a yummy new recipe last night from one of my Cooking Light cookbooks. I just went to Costco the other day and bought a bunch of salmon. I usually do my bbq recipe which I know my husband loves (I’ll give that recipe out next week), but I was aching to try something different.

Our neighbor John who is an organic gardener, gave us a few fresh cucumbers so I thought I would try to utilize those. Found this great recipe for Salmon with Cucumber Salad and Dill Sauce…so good!!! I didn’t have fresh dill on hand so I just cut down the amount of dill a bit and used dry instead. You cut down the amount of herbs in the recipe when you use dry because the flavor is more intense. I’m sure it would be a bit yummier with fresh, but I wasn’t about to pack up the baby to run to the store for one thing.

We had some fresh La Brea Bakery bread to go with it and a nice bottle of Pinot Noir (we prefer red even with fish). The dish was pretty light and could have used a carb…maybe a nice wild rice, but we gave ourselves two pretty big portions of fish. So it was filling for us. Oh and FAST…this recipe was a breeze to make and oh so quick! Definitely a do-again.

Salmon with Cucumber Salad and Dill Sauce
Ingredients
6 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill, divided

3 tablespoons rice vinegar, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 English cucumber (about 1 pound)

Preparation
Combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons dill, 2 tablespoons vinegar, shallots, rind, juice, and garlic in a bowl, stirring well; cover and chill.
Sprinkle fish evenly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish to pan, and cook for 3 minutes. Turn fish over, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add wine; cover and let stand 3 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave cucumber lengthwise into ribbons to yield about 2 cups. Combine cucumber, remaining 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, and remaining 1 teaspoon dill in a bowl; toss gently to coat. Place about 1/2 cup cucumber mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 fillet and 2 tablespoons sour cream mixture.
Yield
4 servings

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 347(49% from fat); FAT 18.7g (sat 3.7g,mono 6.6g,poly 6.7g); IRON 1mg; CHOLESTEROL 102mg; CALCIUM 68mg; CARBOHYDRATE 7.2g; SODIUM 283mg; PROTEIN 35.4g; FIBER 0.9g

Jeanne Kelley, Cooking Light, AUGUST 2007

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July 24, 2008

80s music

by Shelly

Yaz

Psychedelic Furs

Oh so excited! Tonight the hubby and I have a sitter for the little one and we are headed to the OC Fair in Costa Mesa to see Yaz and the Psychedelic Furs. WHOO HOO! Not only am I totally in need of a night out with the boy and a little break from the baby, but I am an 80′s music freak of sorts. I was a little young when both of these bands were in their hayday (elementary school), but as I got into junior high I was all about the New Wave stuff.

I find it funny that right now the music scene is so reminisant of the early to mid 80′s sound. My husband actually just sent me an email this morning about a band he ran across and thought I would like. I actually heard this group on Perez Hilton a while ago and until now had totally forgotten that I loved them and wanted to go download some music for my Ipod. In any case check them out at http://www.thisisalphabeat.com/ . Alphabeat is quirky, danceable and just so fun!

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July 23, 2008

Oh to be surfing!

by Shelly

Surfing in Maui Feb. 2008

When I met my husband six years ago today to be exact, I never imagined that his love of surfing would rub off on me so much! The early days of our relationship contained many days of surfing together at Seal Beach and Huntington Beach. Being the ever patient and encouraging teacher, Reed would talk me through each wave that we’d see coming towards us on the horizon. As the wave grew closer he would shout out, “Ok lay down. Now paddle, paddle, paddle!!”. Sometimes I would get right up and gracefully ride the mellow wave towards the shore looking like Gidget the whole time. However, more often than not, I would totally eat it….I would get tumbled around in the white water as my 9ft. surfboard went shooting straight up into the air. Not so Gidget like at all! But he was oh so patient with me and would dilegently help me try to achieve surfing nirvana.
Well six years, marriage and a one year old later, I have hardly the time to get out there like I use to. Reed no longer works at home as he did in the early days. It was so much easier to sneak off for a session in the water during lunch or early evening. And now with the little one, coordinating a sitter and organizing the car swap with Reed (my car isn’t surfboard friendly), surfing just doesn’t happen enough!
There are so many mommy groups out there that I have no interest at all in getting involved in. Maybe it’s me…but the women usually seem SOO boring! They have become all about the kids, not that there’s anything wrong with being a good mom. But being a good mom means having interests and experiences outside your children too. I am desperate to find other mommies out there who share a love for surfing or just want to try it out! Wouldn’t it be great to have a group of surfing moms…half would stay on the beach and watch the little ones while the other half surfed. Then the moms would switch while the other group surfed. Sounds so great!
So on a day like today when I’ve got most of my errands done for the week and really nothing going on, it would be so awesome to get in a little surfing. Maybe I’ll post a Craigslist ad and see what I can conjure up. I know there are others out there like me….

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