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August 31, 2009

Guest HOME TOUR Blogger

Hello Duoly Noted Readers!

My name is Maureen and I’m guest blogging here today on Melissa’s wonderful page. As you loyal readers have surely noticed, Melissa has recently moved to Texas and is giving all of us a nice home tour of her new house. So I have offered to come in and be a guest blogger for the day and show you a room in my house.

Unlike Melissa, I live in Portland, Oregon instead of Texas, but like Melissa, I love my house and any opportunity to show it off. My house is a small 700-or so square foot two-story carriage house that resides in someone’s large backyard. It’s from 1885 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Here’s a shot of the outside.



But I really want to share with you my favorite room. This room is at the top of the stairs, and is mostly used for reading and lounging. Once upon a time I owned a TV and it was in this room. I used to have people over to watch “The Office” so this room became the “Office Viewing Room”. Ever since getting rid of the TV, I haven’t come up with any names as good as that one. I think we call this something like the “hangout room”.




I painted the walls this neutral sage green color because it was white when I moved in, and I can’t handle white walls. Then I felt it needed a little color, so I made this window seat. It’s a cabinet laying on it’s back, so the doors open up underneath the cushion. I affixed a door to the front so that the ugly bottom part of the cabinet wasn’t showing. Then I sewed this cover and made all of the pillowcases with colorful fabrics from a local shop.



There is also a small couch up in this room. I generally don’t get the point of couches this size, but it is the only thing that would fit up the tiny staircase, so this is what I got. I like it a lot, though having a longer couch for guests to sleep on would be nice. Across from the couch is my grandmother’s old rocking chair. This is very precious to me because I have so many memories of her sitting in this chair. I plan on keeping this chair for as long as I live.


On this little wall I hung up three decorative antique radiator covers. Please excuse the mess in my bedroom through the doorway. Just pretend it’s not there.


The artwork on the walls is all original, some photos I took and framed in various things, windows from an old recycling place and some frames I constructed out of moulding.
So that’s the room. It’s so wonderful and I love it. I wonder, is it tacky to have Christmas lights up year round? I hung them up last winter but never took them down because they give off a good light and they make me sort of happy. Is that bad?

Hope you liked my room tour! Thanks Melissa for letting me guest blog!
(PS If you read Seven Dames A Week, you've already seen these photos when I posted my own Home Tour. I apologize for recycling the photos, but hopefully you won't be mad at me, since I did just tell you about the room's name and origin, my grandmother's rocking chair, and the reason I have such a small couch, all things you didn't learn in the last post!)

Maureen
maureenoliverphotography.blogspot.com

Cupcakes

How amazing are THESE shippable cupcakes from cakespy.com (which I found via Playing House). What a great treat to send all those kids who are just starting college.

In other news, Friday Cooking Experiment did not happen this week, but in fairness I made that Chicken Tetrazzini on Thursday so that kind of counts. Nonetheless I am making it today so stayed tuned because I am a little nervous about this one...

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HOME TOUR: Backyard!


Ever since we moved to Dallas I have been a very jumpy sleeper. I attribute it to getting used to the noises that come with a "house" as opposed to an "apartment"...or maybe it is just fear of the bad karma emanating from the murder house across the street. One of the two.

This morning Dan had left for work and Toby and I were greedily taking up the entirety of the king bed in a peaceful slumber. All of a sudden there was a massive noise, it sounded like a 200 pound bear running up the stairs at record speed. I was a little dazed from being asleep, but it freaked me out enough that there was no chance I was going back to sleep. We got up, checked it out, and I determined that it was a dream.

Yet a half hour later when I took Kadira into the backyard I heard a manic SCREECHING from the roof. I FREAKED OUT because I do not deal with wild animals. I have since created a theory that the evil neighborhood raccoon is on our roof and made that terrible noise this morning. I cannot be sure because I can't actually SEE it, but if I do you bet I am placing a call to animal control.

In other news, this provides a nice transition to introduce another installment to the home tour, the backyard. I am not a fan of our backyard. I prefer big GIANT square backyards with lush grass and no plants (because I have a tendency to kill them). But, ya know, our backyard is better then no backyard so I can deal for a year. Here are some pics.

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August 30, 2009

New Blog and New Post!

So. What do you think?

My goal during this period of joblessness was to take Duoly Noted to the next level. Which includes a website that is more...how do they say....google juice friendly?

You will notice a couple of new features. First and foremost, the upper toolbar where you can focus in on the topics covered on this blog that you enjoy. Whether it be stories about the dogs, photos, fashion, videos, wedding stories, books, you name it! It also provides information for how you can get in touch with me, FUN! Most importantly, it is provides a very conducive way for you to comment on posts. Nothing in the world makes me happier then people who comment on my posts so have at it! (Note you do not have to have a google account - or any account!- to comment on my blog).

In other news, my Sunday Post Health Care is up on Seven Dames a Week. It has been something I have wanted to blog about for a long time but was holding back because it makes me too...angry maybe? Hopefully this post expresses my concerns in a manner that is a little more personal and a little less preachy.

Stay tuned- lots of new surprises and changes will be coming up on Duoly Noted! Tell your friends!

Make sure you follow me on Twitter @duolynoted!

And make sure to add duolynoted.com to your google reader!

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August 28, 2009

Massive Recipes For The Weekend


Here's the thing. I can't really be bothered to feed myself during the day. I eat a bowl of cereal...maybe a Slim Fast shake...and that is about it. So I am all about dinner, and I used to love dinner because SOMEBODY made really good dinners every night. But now that SOMEBODY doesn't cook anymore (in fairness this somebody is pretty busy), so yesterday I did the unthinkable. I cooked on a day other then Friday.

I'm just so sick of warming up my dinner out of a bag.

So I decided to make Chicken Tetazzini ala the good ol' Betty Crocker Cookbook (Thanks Mom!). The sauce was a little tricky, but overall it was a success. Here is my adapted version:


INGREDIENTS:
1 pkg of spaghetti, broken into thirds
1/4 cup butter or margarine (I added more to the mixture because I could not get the sauce smooth without adding more butter. If you can do it with 1/4 cup more power to you.)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbs sherry or water (I forgot to put this in and it turned out fine)
2 cups of cubed cooked chicken or turkey (Next time I think I wont put this in, I didn't really like the chicken in it)
1 jar of sliced mushrooms (I did not put this in either because the mushrooms I thought were still good so were not.)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package

3. Meanwhile, in a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat (make sure you completely melt it and it is covering the bottom of the whole pan! Trust me! I had to do this twice!) Stir in flour salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly (very important!) until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and whipping cream. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.

4. Stir spaghetti, sherry, chicken, and mushrooms into sauce. Pour spaghetti mixture into ungreased 2 quart casserole. Sprinkle the top with cheese (OR DUMP CHEESE ALL OVER THE TOP! :) MMMM!)

5. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until bubbly in center.

Voila! I even served it with a nice salad. I'm like Betty freaking Crocker reincarnated. Its sad, because I always wanted to be a political figure reincarnated. But apparently its Betty Crocker. Don't worry, Friday Cooking Experiment is still happening (Cooking twice in a week? Miracles do happen!) It is a salsa chicken in a crock pot. So yes, another chicken recipes, but at least I am breaking away from the pasta.

In dessert news, my friend Stephanie sent me two great dessert recipes. I am dying to try them, but I am trying not to have a ton of dessert oriented things in the house since I have a tendency to eat them in mass quantities...which is not good since I seem to be on a cheese and pasta cooking binge. So someone please make them and blog about them so I can live vicariously through you.

The first is a cheesecake brownie recipe that looks amazing and can be found at AllRecipes.com. Yummy!

The next was inspired by a post over on Seven Dames a Week (that fun little collaborative blog I'm a part of and you need to check out). Tinkler wrote a funny piece called Tasty Balls where she gave the recipe for Oreo truffles. Well Steph had a great recipe for chocolate balls:

Ingredients

1 box chocolate cake mix – I like dark chocolate cake (and whatever you need to make the cake, I think it’s oil and eggs)

1 tub chocolate frosting

¾ cup of semi-sweet choc chips

¼ cup white chocolate (I use white choc chips)

1 stick butter (or margarine/butter in tub)

Small ziplock baggie

Waxed paper

Steps:

  1. Bake the chocolate cake as directed on the box.
  2. Once cake is done (no need to let cool), scrape the cake into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the entire tub of frosting into the crumbled cake in the mixing bowl.
  4. Stir until the cake and frosting are completely combined. Should be a sticky mess!
  5. Roll new cake “batter” into small one inch balls and place on a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper. No need to space them far apart.
  6. I usually then place the cookie sheet with all of the balls in the freezer for about 10 minutes just to speed up the cooling process.
  7. Melt about ½ bag of semi-sweet choc chips with about ¼ cup butter over low/med heat. You probably won’t need this much, but I always make more just in case J
  8. Once the chocolate mixture is smooth (add butter as needed for consistency), decrease heat to low & dip each chocolate cake ball into the melted chocolate and replace onto cookie sheet. Continue to stir melted chocolate as it likes to burn easily.
  9. After all the cake balls have been dipped, again I usually place the cookie sheet into the freezer to speed up the cooling process.
  10. Melt the white chocolate chips with about 1 TBSP of butter (I usually do this step in the microwave).
  11. Stir white chocolate/butter mixture until smooth and spoon into a ziplock bag (into the corner)
  12. Cut off the very tip of one corner on the ziplock bag and drizzle the white chocolate over the chocolate balls.
  13. Allow to cool (I usually just keep the chocolate balls in the refrigerator because there is a lot of chocolate in there that could melt!)
  14. TA-DA! Chocolate Balls!!!

Happy Cooking and Baking! (I never thought I would say those words on this blog ever.)

Links I Love

Nothing in the world irritates me more then finding FABULOUS wedding things after my wedding. Yesterday I was reading Laura Novak's photography blog and there was the CUTEST link to a great invitation website called teardropweddings. They are the most unique and beautiful wedding invitations I have seen and if you use them for your wedding please send one to me even if I'm not really invited so that I can see these beautiful nuggets in person.

This Grilled Thai Beef Salad looks super yummy (via Playing House).

THESE are super cute bags, although I don't know how economical they are to use, they sure are fun to look at! (via Design Milk).

I am loving these designs from Stinkerpants. Can you tell I am really into characturers these days? I really want the framed picture, but the Save the Dates are super cute too!! (another thing I wish I had found for my wedding...) Head on over to Elizabeth Anne Designs and enter their giveaway!

August 27, 2009

Clever Idea!



This guy has an awesome idea for untangable headphones. I really hope it gets picked up by the IPOD. I would buy them (via Design Milk).


Heaven

If I woke up and was HERE I would know I was in heaven...

Oh, and I made an awesome dinner tonight. So awesome Toby crawled up and ate like a ton of it when we were not looking. I'm bracing myself for one very sick puppy tonight.

HOME TOUR: Other Bathrooms


Sooooo here are the other two bathrooms. I am sure you are thrilled. See, this is my perfectionism taken to a fault. I started something, and I now feel the need to show you EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE NO MATTER HOW UNINTERESTING THEY MAY BE. Without further ado, here are the other two bathrooms.


This is the half bathroom on the main level. It is the smallest bathroom in the world. Quite possibly an RV has a bigger bathroom then this. In fact, I didn't know it was a bathroom for like a week. I thought it was a closet and opened the door and was like "Huh. Another bathroom."


Congrats! You can pee and touch both sides of the wall!


I decorated the smallest bathroom in the world with framed postcards I got while backpacking through Europe. This one is Firenze (Obviously.)


Roma


London. This is actually a picture, not a postcard, that I took while studying abroad. It is a little boy in Trafalgar Square surrounded by pigeons. It is hands down the best picture I have ever taken and if I can track down the digital version at some point I will share it with you all.


Rome, Ireland, England.


Dan's bathroom, also the guest bathroom for when people come to visit (hint, hint, hint).

August 26, 2009

Surprise!

So. I cut 9 inches off my hair today...

Before
After

You will have to excuse the scary pictures. I am really bad at taking pictures of myself in mirrors so my eyes got a little cross eyed after awhile. So I have been wanting to cut my hair for FOREVER, but I wanted it long for the wedding...blah, blah, blah. Then after the wedding I was like "I am going to cut it!" but there was never time, and the one time I called my stylists she was out of town so I was stuck waiting. I have been asking around for good stylists in Dallas and was directed to Abbey Road Salon. I was a little sad because the entire reason I grew out my hair was to donate it, but I was 1 inch too short! I knew I could not cut my hair any shorter then I did (emotionally), and my hair just would not grow any longer (physically). However if you have hair that is long enough to donate you definitely should. You can find out more at Locks For Love.

I did not tell Dan I was going to do it, so it was a big surprise when he came home! I told him its our new game called "What Crazy Thing Will Melissa Do While Stuck At Home Today." Stay tuned for the next installment...

House Tour: MASTER BATHROOM!


So I had planned on moving throughout the house with these home tours, with the next feature being the living room. However I was looking around my bathroom today and was like "Ew, this is disgusting." So I cleaned it, which means ultimately it is the next up on the home tour.

The master bathroom is hands down my favorite room in the house. It is a little old, so it has quirks, but it also has a lot of Texas style charm. Now it is time to let you all in on my theory of this house. I think a very, very young architect designed our home with great vision but little experience in carrying it out. Because there is just some weird stuff to our house, a lot of which can be exhibited in this bathroom.



The counter top is HUGE. Its even better because it is ALL MINE since Dan wanted to the other bathroom (really he just can't stand it when all of my hair appliances are left out in the morning.) The sinks are shaped like seashells, which is really pretty but impossible to keep clean. The medicine cabinet is the most shallow cabinet ever. it is almost completely non functional except for really small bottles of medicine. Luckily this bathroom is full of storage, which we will get to in a moment.



This is the bath, but are you looking at the floor? YES, IT IS A CARPETED BATHROOM! I have never seen a carpeted bathroom before. I can't say that I hate it though, I mean I never slip and fall when I get out of the shower and it is much easier to keep clean then a traditional linoleum floor. However I do kind of get goosebumps when I think about what might have leaked through the carpet onto the pad. Yech. Moving on...


One of the main reasons I wanted this house was the JETTED TUB! Which I have used once and it was like having a hot tub in my freaking house. It is so powerful and glorious...but I feel major guilt using it because it requires so much water because the tub is so ginormous. So this is going to be a luxury I do not use very often...but oh how it is to die for.


The skylight in the bathroom is fab- except during lightening storms because if the door to the bathroom is open it will light up our entire bedroom. Like it did last week.


No...you aren't looking at another picture of the bath...


Nor the counters...


They are two huge master closets in the bathroom. Seriously, there are no closets in the bedroom, they are in the bathroom. Not to mention you get out of the shower and are faced with 3 of the 4 walls in the bathroom with full length mirrors. At first I was really worried about what this would do to my clothes, but the ceilings are high enough and there is enough ventilation that so far it has not been much of a problem.


Its no secret that I love jewelry, especially earrings. I recently did a jewelry purge and got rid of some of my more tacky pieces. My earrings are actually on a silly art board that I created in college. I just poked holes through the canvas and put the earrings through. It has worked fabulously for years, but I think it might be time to create a new one.

So that is the master bathroom!

So I have a big secret I am trying to keep, but I can't tell it until later tonight. So make sure you check back later tonight for the big reveal!

False Alarm.

I recently applied for a couple new jobs, so when my phone lit up with a Dallas area code my heart almost burst from my chest with excitement. I answered with my very best professional voice in hopes of making a good vocal impression.

It was an audio recording. From WalGreens. My prescription is ready to be picked up.

I hate my life.

August 25, 2009

No Need For Concern

I have become a little board with my blog layout recently, so you will notice a lot of changes to the layout of this blog in the next few weeks. I am considering just contracting out the new layout, so if you are a web designer email me at duolynoted@gmail.com and we'll chat vision and prices...

Rachel Zoe

HAHAHAHAHA
Okay sometimes I think I am the only person who watches the Rachel Zoe Project, but if you are one of the others out there who finds total hilarity in this show, you must watch this mock of Rachel Zoe. Its so spot on its amazing. Love her.



Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

Recently I finished Emily Giffin's novel Baby Proof, which means I have officially read all of her novels and have to wait until SPRING 2010 for The Heart of the Matter to come out (you can read a sneak preview of that book HERE). I have no idea how I am going to wait that long and am currently writing her a letter regarding how she needs to get on it and get these books pumped out at a faster rate.

I love Emily Giffin novels because I'm pretty sure she can read my mind. She constantly takes note of life's idiosyncrasies in a manner that makes me go "I KNOW! I TOTALLY THINK THAT TOO!" The other aspect of her novels that I enjoy is that she makes her lead characters so ridiculously flawed that I am in absolute turmoil throughout the whole book until the end where everything seems to work out just fine (as all good books should).

That being said, this was one of my least favorite of her books. I didn't really understand where the book was going. I felt like the plot of the whole book really should have only taken up a couple chapters and as I kept reading I kept thinking "what is this book about?" That being said, while the overall plot of the book left something to be desired, the characters in the book were fabulous foils of each other and I stayed entertained despite the lackluster overall plot.

Now I'm off to Half Price Books to find my next round of reading material...

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