Friday, January 29, 2010

Talk gouda to me baby.

Since I remain on the hunt for new and inventive "theme" days, welcome to the first installment of Fromage Fridays, a new an exciting series where I highlight a particularly sexy cheese. We begin with Shropshire Blue which can be ogled below (cue the slow jam):

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That rind. Those blue streaks. That beautiful throbbing...never mind.

In case you thought I was joking, I love cheese. When I broke up with my high school sweetheart, my best friend didn't bring over Ben & Jerry's, rather a baguette, wheel of Camembert & fig jelly. (Try it, it will make you believe in God.) The cheese above is a wonderful departure from regular Stilton or Blue, stronger in flavor & less nutty. It can be bought via the wonderful people at Artisan Cheese, available at

This is a lovely cheese for the end of a meal, it likes long walks on the beach, the Sweet Valley High series of books and dogs that don't bark. Oh yeah.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Desperation is a dish best served on national television.

I want to start this post by saying that I am far from a snob when it comes to media consumption. I read the New Yorker regularly but also subscribe to Glamour. I DVR "Sunday Morning" & "Meet the Press" as well as "Teen Mom". I've been known to wear my Jimmy Choos with Forever 21 clothes. What I'm saying is, I like high and low brow entertainment.

That said, there is one show on television that absolutely makes me apoplectic b/c it is both mind-numbingly stupid and incredibly popular. That would be the well past its expiration date "Bachelor/Bachelorette" franchise.

While I take issue with both incarnations of this misguided matchmaking mess (holy alliteration Batman!), my ire really lies with "The Bachelor" version. I haven't and won't make a habit of airing my political/social views on this blog, as I strive to keep it a fun, airy take on my existence. I will however out myself as a liberal feminist in this moment to explain why I find this show so gross is all its bullshit TV glory.

I was raised by two working parents, and while they both worked their asses of to provide the very best for me, I will focus on my mother for the purposes of this post. My mother is an incredible role model. She is educated, accomplished, talented and just so happens to be drop dead gorgeous. My mother could have (and still could) married for money and used her looks to get ahead. She didn't. She followed her passions and has a career and a beautiful family to show for it. I was raised, as an only girl, to think for myself, to achieve and to never forget that you always need to be prepared to take care of yourself and not rely on a man for your existence. I have an incredible husband who has big dreams and is working hard to provide me the option to do whatever I like in this life and I appreciate it with all my heart. But you can be damn sure that I am more than capable of taking care of myself should the need arise. My husband knows this too and respects me. It's one of the reasons he married me.

Now I couldn't care less if a woman chooses to work or not. What really sticks in my craw about the losers who both star in and compete for the affections of "The Bachelor" is that it perpetuates this BS myth about love and marriage and gender roles on TV. In 2008 we watched two women come this close to being President & Vice President of the United States, but if ABC is to be believed, a woman's best shot at success is still pushing up her boobs, throwing on a sherbet colored prom dress and shamelessly throwing herself at some generically handsome idiot who hasn't managed to find "love" in his 30 plus years on Earth.

Women have and will always use their sexuality to get ahead, I am certainly no exception. But what the empty coiffed vessels of this show don't get is that your beauty should not be the sum total of what you have to offer. It should be layered with education, ambition, ethics, faith and compassion. But that's not good TV I guess. So until the masses stop tuning into this crap, my guess is that there will be 14 more seasons of this shallow drivel, watching the latest crop of soulless Barbies compete for their Ken and their inevitable US Weekly cover to detail why they just couldn't make it work once the helicopter dates dried up.

Me, I'll keep rolling my eyes and wait for the show where 25 average looking girls with kickass jobs and degrees compete for the affections of a shy, nerdy graphic designer with a cat.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Baby Did a Bad Bad Blog.

I've been a bad blogger. My apologies ninos.

I promise I will resume blogging on a more than weekly basis now that a.) I'm no longer walking like a pimp b.) my company's yearly kickoff meetings are over! For now you will have to settle for another round of "Theoretical Thursday".

In honor (or infamy rather) of the biblical storms attacking our fair country right now, I pose to you this: What type of weather would you be? Bright and sunny? A wintry mix? A tornado?

Although my husband would probably classify me as a hurricane, I would like to think that I am snow. Light & pretty however under that facade a mischievous little devil whose angelic exterior belies the trouble I am capable of causing.

Your turn. Since I am in a pensive mood due to the London like grey that has seized Chicago for what seems and indefinite period of time, I leave you with this quote:

"Into each life some rain must fall." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monday, January 18, 2010

Just call me Grace.

I hate the word clumsy. It sounds so benign, like, "She's cute! And clumsy! No big deal!" Except it is a big deal when you are clumsy, like me. I am constantly falling down, running into things, stubbing my toe, bonking my head, you name it, I'll smack it on an inanimate object. Normally they are little bumps and bruises but every now and then I really get the job done. Like yesterday when I, wait for it:

Fell up the stairs.

Yep. You read it right. I fell UP the stairs. No easy feat, unless you are as similarly clumsy as I am. It's totally my karma for being such a controlling, obsessive neat freak. I was running around doing chores way too fast. I was walking upstairs with the laundry basket and just biffed it majorly. I slammed into the stairs and then fell down.

I, being the baby that I am, promptly burst into tears that Jakey came and licked away. Once I was done howling like a baby I surveyed the damage. A broken toenail, a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my shin, a knee that won't bend more than 45 degrees and an ass that is sore from tumbling down 2 stairs onto the hard tile.

So now I'm on near fatal doses of Advil, have a heating super glued to my knee and the hubs is ever so kindly taking care of dinner & cleaning.

Apparently being clumsy does have some advantages.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Theoretical Thursday

As a nod to our friendly neighbors to the North who will be hosting the rapidly approaching Winter Olympics, here is the first installment of theoretical Thursday:

If you were a winter Olympian, what event would you compete in & why?

Please. This is a no brainer. I would be a figure skater. I love sequins, schmaltzy music and gay men. It was meant to be. Problem is, I have never even put on a pair of ice skates because the idea of flying around a block of ice on two Ginsu knives has always terrified me. Assuming I could get over that fear though, definitely a figure skater.

Your turn...what winter sport would you medal in and why?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An urgent and pressing announcement.

Success! I think I came up with my very own, super original blog theme day. Yours right now for 3 easy payments of $19.99!

Wait...never mind.

I can't charge for it, but I did come up with a theme for Thursdays....drum roll please......

Theoretical Thursdays.

Yay! Ticker tape! Fireworks! Unicorns!

Every Thursday I will come up with a theoretical situation, idea, plan, etc. and you all can weigh in and tell me what you would do in said situation. I obviously will tell you my answer also and you can marvel at the disturbing depths of my psyche.

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Well this is going to be fun.

I have found a new online obsession,, where you can create idea boards for anything, clothes, events or your home. They have a huge database of items already loaded or you can use the clip function to add your own. Since my bedroom is in dire need of a makeover, here is my first pass at an idea board:

I'm striving for a mix of old/new as well as modern and traditional. I especially love the yellow & grey color combo. What are your thoughts? Anything you'd add? Or take away?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

If Virginia is for lovers, than Utah is for Teetotalers.

I will say that I have an evil self-satisfied glint in my eye as I write this. I love my husband but sometimes it makes me giggle when the universe exacts its justice upon him.

Mr. Valentine went out to the West Coast this weekend for his little brother's 21st birthday. In short, this weekend is devoted solely to the purpose of drinking his face off. He left last night, which would have been fine if not for the following:

1. He flew out of O'Hare airport. If you haven't had the pleasure of flying in and out of O'Hare, go buy a lottery ticket. It's the busiest airport in the U.S. which means is packed with impatient people, the flights are never on time and the TSA people who don't look like bored fifteen year olds in study hall look like they should be getting shipped off to Gitmo. On its best day it's the gates of hell. Days like yesterday and today they should just shut the damn place down. We are in the middle of a massive snowstorm, so everything that already sucks about O'Hare has been ratcheted up about 6 notches.

2. He flew Northwest Air. If O'Hare Airport is Hell on Earth, than Northwest Air is the dark mistress of that bottomless pit of despair. Simply put, you should never, under any circumstances fly Northwest air. They lost my bag once for 2 weeks and sent me home with a tiny tube of baking soda toothpaste and a XXXL t-shirt with their logo on it. You know, because after an airline has RUINED your day you totally want to wear their shirt like a billboard.

Needless to say, this is not a recipe for travel success which is why my sweet little Latin love found himself in a Courtyard Marriott in Salt Lake City, Utah last night. It's the usual story, delayed flight, hour of de-icing the plane, missed connection, yada yada yada. Now, getting stranded is never fun, but Utah might be the worst place ever to be stranded in the middle of the night. Apparently there was no food available at the hotel so my poor hubs ate Hot Pockets from the sundries store. None of this would be all that bad if it weren't for Utah's Draconian alcohol laws. I'm no expert, but from what I understand you can only buy alcohol b/t the hours of 1:00-2:00, Egypt Standard Time and you have to go to one of 4 liquor stores in the entire state where your fingerprints are put into the "drunken infidel" database. Bad news.
Especially bad news when your intended destination is drunkytown, U.S.A.

It did lead to my not at all over dramatic hubs wailing that he should know better than to go away without me. Apparently the universe is on my side afterall. I knew it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Bachelorette: Chicago Edition

If you watched Sex & the City as religiously as I did, you might remember the episode where the girls talked about their "Secret Single Behavior" i.e. the secret things we all do when our spouse or significant other is away. Since Mr. Valentine is off to the PacNorthwest for a few days, I will be indulging in the things that I only do when the hubs is away.

1. Watch as much girly entertainment as humanly possible. Here is some of the mindless crap I have watched while my husband is away: 27 Dresses, Bride Wars, My Sister's Keeper, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1 & 2), The Devil Wears Prada (like 1000 times), Sex & the City (naturally), About a Boy...the list goes on and on. I do draw the line at anything starring Jennifer Lopez, Sandra Bullock or Jessica Simpson though. I have standards people.

2. Clean. I love to clean. The dirtier the better. The mister helps as much as he can, but let's get real; the average dude just doesn't clean things well enough. Mr. Valentine would clean everything with 409 and the kitchen sponge if left to his own devices. When he's gone I get to be as obsessive compulsive as I want and it is AWESOME. Incidentally, this is how I clean out the old, worn out undershirts he refuses to toss. I just throw them out when he's gone, buy new ones and put them in his drawers. Best part? He never notices.

3. Shop. (Insert evil cackle) My husband is very good to me and virtually never says no when I want to buy something. (Smart guy) That said, shopping alone is SO much better than shopping with a dude. I can take my time, try on as much as I want, put stuff on hold, stop for coffee and then decide. And no matter what the price I can figure out a way to convince him I needed it. (see aforementioned statement about him never saying no. I have my ways.)

So that is what I'll be doing for the next 4 days, that plus seeing my family & some friends. It'll be fun, as usual, but truth is it's just how I fill my time until my best friend comes home.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year, New Look.

My first order of business in 2010 was to get a new blog template, hope you like it. I don't really believe in New Year's Resolutions as they more often than not set you up for failure, so instead, I've got some goals for 2010.

1. Learn how to use my new camera. Between my awesome family, friends and Mr. Valentine, I was able to purchase this sexy little number:

Trouble is, I have no idea how to use it. I refuse to be the girl who has an awesome camera that never leaves auto mode so I've signed up for a photography class here in town and hope to post many envy inducing photos of my dogs, husband and cheese very soon.

2. Get back to my pre-marriage weight. I, like many newlyweds, spent the first year and a half of marriage making googly eyes at my husband over wine and cheese. It's a jolly nice way to spend your time, but unless I want to be forklifted out of my house in a year I need to dial it down a notch. This means back to the gym 5 days a week and to resist the drug pushers that work the Whole Foods cheese counter.

3. Stop swearing. I swear like Chicagoans vote, early and often. It's not really my fault, my dad is a chef and if you've spent any time in a restaurant kitchen you know that Mother Teresa would come out of one swearing like a sailor on leave. I can swear in English, French and Spanish. My dad taught me how to say "shit" in French when I was a little girl, so as you can see I never really had a chance. But it is a nasty habit that I need to kick before me and the hubs procreate. I don't really want to raise a mini Andrew Dice Clay.

There are goals of other natures too: financial, career and marriage goals, but I've learned that the only people who want to hear about those are your best friends, dogs and therapists, who incidentally are paid to care.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Rockin' New Years Eve

Happy New Year...this is one of the first years where the passage of time hit me very profoundly. I hope you and yours have a blessed 2010.