Who Cut the Cheese?

Cheese is gross.  No really, it’s disgusting.  It’s essentially old, moldy milk.  When you think about it – it’s nasty.  But in reality – it’s fucking DELICIOUS.  I mean, it’s just so WONDERFUL.

So many flavors, so many textures, so many smells.  How many other times do you smell feet that ripe and think “pass me a cracker!”

It’s delicious by itself, it’s delicious on a cracker, in a burrito, on a taco, sprinkled (heavily!) on your meatballs, baked, toasted and burnt.  Cheese doesn’t have an ego – it can be the star of the show in a perfect grilled cheese or it can be a loyal backup dancer on your burger and it’s always happy to share equal billing with eggs or turkey or ham.

And, it’s pretty much loved worldwide.

My favorite cheese experiences…

#1 Maui, Hawaii
@surfinggoatdairy was the absolute highlight of my trip to Maui.  I was traveling alone and I signed up for the “Grand Dairy Tour” – you milk goats, you learn about all the skills and processes that go into making cheese, and you get to sample so much cheese.  They do things with goat cheese that just simply make your mouth happy! If you are in Maui… make a point to visit! And they’ll even ship to you!! Oh yeah, and did I mention the goat cheese truffles!  

#2 Kangaroo Island, Australia
It was the summer of 1999 (before the world ended at Y2K) and I did the 2-day Kangaroo Island Tour with a couple classmates from my study abroad program.  The first day was centered on the wildlife, especially the penguins (penguins UP CLOSE!!!). The second day was a “tastes of Kangaroo island” focus – there was a lobster farm and another local farm up first, but then we got to sheep milk dairy.  And that’s where I met the most wonderful cheese I’ve ever eaten. It was this cheese that when you dropped a ball of it into a hot pan, it cooked itself in its own oils and turned into these little patties. Move over Mozzarella Sticks, I’ve got a new love.  And I’m super, super sad that my 20-year-old traveller didn’t think to remember the name of it. But hot damn, I’ll never forget that cheese.

#3 Cabarete, Dominican Republic
We were staying at the Areca Hotel in Cabarete.  Friends of friends referred us to this delightful apartment style hotel set up feet from the beach and we had the extreme good fortune of being welcomed into Cabarete by one of its legendary citizens.  She had us over for breakfast – a traditional Dominican Breakfast – which consists of mangu, cebollas, salchichón, huevo frito, queso frito, and aguacate. You’ll be full for days – look it up, its possibly the best breakfast ever.  Queso Frito – seriously, I’m going back, just for more of that cheese. It was heavenly.

The moral of this blog… EAT THE CHEESE!  EAT ALL THE CHEESES!

#Cheese #australia #maul #dominicanrpublic #cabarete #cabareteDR  #kangarooisland #goatcheese #sheepcheese #sheepsmilkcheese #chocolate #truffles #eatthecheese

Learn more:

Surfing Goat Dairy

Kangaroo Island – It was 20 years ago, and I don’t remember exactly which tour we did, so I’ll leave you in the trusted hands of TripAdvisor 

Hotel Areca

Pass the Remote!

I straight up don’t understand people who don’t watch television.  TV is fabulous. Every week, or nowadays for a rainy Saturday binge, you get to escape to another world with people who’ve become friends.   Sometimes they are going through the same things you are – and that’s why you are drawn to them. Sometimes they are nothing like you and it’s a welcome escape.  Sometimes you check in on Chuck Todd just to make sure the week’s latest political news hasn’t caused his head to explode. (Yes, I check in every Sunday morning).

I’m of the Must See TV, TGIF generation.  We started with TV early – Sesame Street and the Electric Company were our earliest friends.  In fact, they were my friends so much that my parents thought Barkley was my imaginary friend – it took a long time to convince them he was on Sesame Street.  They just didn’t believe me. In middle school we graduated to “Family Matters” and “Full House,” and then Nickelodeon was born and we were blessed with “Salute Your Shorts” and “Hey Dude.”

“Clarissa Explained It All” to me, long before she was the original Sabrina.  By high school it was “Friends” that took the top spot. There’s no question, I’m a Monica, but I really wanted to be a Rachel. And I’ll always be team Chandler – making dad jokes hip long before it was cool.

And, then I went to college and the greatest chapter of my television love affair began, the WB (now The CW) was born, that frog danced into my life and brought along with him all of my teenage angst in the form of four kids from fictional Capeside, MA (just a short drive from my actual, in reality, home).  I was hooked from the first second. And full disclosure, I’ve watched it about 15 times end to end – minus the halloween episodes.

I would be remiss not to mention my intense love for “The West Wing” – to date, I still not so secretly wish I could be C.J. Cregg.  

Today, with all the streaming platforms and binge-able opportunities, I can hardly keep up. And I’m in all my glory.   We’ll be talking about TV again, I’m sure.

You Can Quote Me On That!

Everything you need to know in life can be learned from a Pinterest Quote.  Okay, maybe not, but I do love that just when I need to hear (or see it, as the case may be) Pinterest seems to know.  This kind of Big Brother I can live with.

Here are a few of my favorites…

Everything Happens for a Reason, and Everything Happens for the Best.”

As an adult my mother has said this to me repeatedly,  I feel like this has been a general family motto.  It’s often hard to swallow, especially when you are in the thick of what’s happening. And, it kinda makes you want to punch every friend who says this to you in the face, when you are in the happening.  But when you find yourself on the other side looking back, I’ll be damned if it’s not always correct.

“Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”

This has been the hardest lesson to learn.  When I get involved in a project, in any aspect of my life, I get deeply in the weeds. I can’t help it. I dive into the deep end, I’m not a wade into the shallow end first kinda girl.  I used to believe that being involved meant being involved in everything, caring about every aspect, listening to every gripe, until I realized it was dragging me down, and turning me into a version of myself that I didn’t really like.   I’m still not a zen master, but I’ll be damned if I let those monkeys get the best of me.

“Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe.”

Admittedly, this quote is a bit more hippy dippy than the impression most people get when they first meet me, but I believe this whole-heartedly.   And my tribe is the raddest, weirdest, most ridiculous group of humans ever assembled. Seriously, don’t know where I’d be without them. If I thanked them all by name, this blog post might never end, but I’m confident they know who they are.  

“You’ve Always Had the Power My Dear, You Just Had to Learn it for Yourself.” – The Wizard of Oz

Because Glinda knows all, and apparently has a really bomb shoe collection!

Can I get an IV? My love affair with coffee

Dearest Coffee –

Delicious child of ground beans and hot water.  The nectar of the gods. Proof that the Universe loves us. Coffee is wonderful.  

Coffee how I love thee!

Coffee makes me human. Coffee picks me up and doesn’t slam me right back down (I’m looking at you Pixie Stix!).

Coffee is a ritual, it’s a mating dance, it’s a warm, cozy hug first thing in the morning.  There is something truly magical about that first cup of coffee in the am.

Recently, the doctor informed me that I had to make some serious changes to my eating habits – and identified a few of the most likely triggers for the issue I was having – coffee and spicy foods. Why don’t you just take away breathing doc?  Begrudgingly, I gave up coffee (as a test), let’s not give up everything delicious and wonderful in life all at once. Sriracha stays.

  And, I’ll admit it did help (quite a bit actually).  But I refuse to breakup with coffee altogether. We are exploring seeing other people, but we still hook up occasionally.   Coffee and I had an intense relationship, in the mornings, I’d grind and hit brew before hopping in the shower, then while I’m tooting around getting ready I’d have one – maybe two cups.  Then for the drive, the rest of the pot went into my coffee bottle. That’s right – bottle. That was usually gone before I got to my destination. And since I had to be out of the house and wearing pants, like an adult,  I’d usually have one more cup in the office in the morning. If it was a really bad sleep night, then I’d have one in the afternoon as well. Coffee and I were addicted to each other.

It was a clean break at first, switched teams right over to Green Tea and didn’t look back.  But then I had my first work event post-breakup – 10 days in New York. I knew I was going to cave, I just thought it would be mid-event hotel coffee.  Instead, I made it through the event, but on the morning after, as we explored the city, as everyone else was getting their morning coffee, I broke down.  Iced coffee. After six weeks without coffee, I finally felt like a human again. What a glorious morning.

So, while things are getting pretty serious with Tea, she’s aware that coffee will always be my first love and that I’m never giving him up.  Tea is pretty respectful, she’ll step aside and let coffee do his thing… and let me tell you, he does his thing so much better, now that he’s a special treat.

Coffee I <3 Thee


Nashville Loves Johnny Cash

Angela and I recently took a trip to Nashville – a girls weekend with our friend P.  It was a trip born from a dare in a bar called Losers at the MGM in Las Vegas. And we actually made it happen.  Then, by sheer coincidence it ended with us sitting with some random strangers at Losers Nashville, where one of the random strangers ‘won the bet.‘ Perfect.

I love Nashville.  I loved it from the minute I rolled through with my mom on my cross-country move to Los Angeles.  I loved the vibe of the city. I loved the live music everywhere. It’s fair to say that had I not been with my mom, I might have just stopped, planted roots and never made it to the west coast.

When I left Boston for LA, it was assumed that someday I’d be back, but after I visited Nashville, that all changed.  At first it was just a weird thought in my head, but overtime when people asked me “will you ever leave LA?” I started telling them I had a feeling Nashville might be a stop on my journey.

In the 14 years since then, I’ve travelled in some country music circles but I’ve never made it back.  As a card-carrying member of No Shoes Nation, I’ve travelled 6,000 miles round trip each summer to see the last night of the Kenny Chesney tour at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, I’ve wished plenty of friends ‘safe travels’ on their trips to Music City, but until October I had never made it back.

I still love the vibe and the live music.  For a Bostonian West Coaster the general friendliness of the city is a little shocking at first.  “Oh, you’re just saying hello.” Oh, right, people in other places do that. The food was great – to be fair we’d come equipped with more than a few lists of reccos from trusted sources – the beers were cold (I try to only drink local beers when I travel – cause, why not?  Two thumbs up, Nashville!) and the city was welcoming.

Each of us picked one thing that was a MUST for Girl’s Weekend.   I just wanted as much live music as I could get. I’d done most of the touristy stuff in 2004, and I’ve travelled so much this year, I just wanted to relax and soak in the tunes.  Angela and P’s MUST was the Johnny Cash Museum. Zero complaints from me.

I love Johnny Cash, I love museums about people’s lives.  Solid wins all around. This was a great museum, totally worth it if you find yourself in Nashville.

Recently, I’ve been working on a book (it’s a YA novel, set in the 90s).  A book I intentionally left at home because I didn’t want to be distracted on Girl’s Weekend.  I’m in the editing and reimagining phase – my head goes to some interesting places in this process.  I certainly didn’t expect Nashville to draw up feelings, much less the Johnny Cash Museum.

At some point during our visit, we all got separated.  I turned into the section centered on the end of Johnny’s life, and just inside Johnny’s “Hurt” video was playing on a monitor.  I stopped dead in my tracks. The same way I did the first time I saw it. The original NIN song factors deeply in my feelings about the book (and its subject matter), and when I first heard Johnny Cash’s version during college, it ripped me apart.  Just like it did in Nashville.

I must have watched it at least three times, through the tears in my eyes.  I’m not sure where Angela and P were during that time, but I’m glad neither of them saw that, because I’m not sure I would have been able to explain.  But I’m infinitely grateful they had it on their MUST list.

‘Til Next Time, Nashville!

Ciao , TCurtis

Call me Imelda!

Seventy.  I own seventy pairs of shoes… and I don’t see a damn thing wrong with that.  I have always loved shoes. Frankly, 70 pairs is probably the least pairs of shoes I’ve owned since the time I was able to pick out my own shoes.  

I Love SHOES.  All kinds. All colors.  All price ranges.

Shoes are beautiful.  They are art. They are magic.  Hell, they are practically unicorns for your feet.

When my pants don’t fit – my shoes still fit.

When I’m not loving an outfit – my shoes can take it up to 11.

When I’m not feeling well – my shoes comfort me.  Well, my slippers, but you get the point.

Some people have power suits… I’ve got power shoes.  I stand a little taller, walk a little sassier and kick a little higher.  Good luck to the person that decides to cross me when I’m wearing my power shoes! (And no, I’m not going to reveal which pair that is!)

My alter ego lives in black dresses on red carpets – my shoes still live somewhere over the rainbow!  Those yellow Calvin Klein’s with the bow! Ooooh… and those teal, tie-up Seychelles!

I fully admit… I judge people based on their shoes.  I judge and I’m comfortable with it. There’s a big difference between “I wear ugly shoes and I don’t care” and “I hate it but I need to wear these ugly shoes.”  Its real.

Once, I decided not to move in with a guy (just a roommate) because I had serious questions about his shoes.

I’ve definitely said “No, thanks” to more than a few guys at the bar because of sub-par footwear.  

While money can buy you some really, REALLY nice shoes, I don’t believe that the magic a shoe possesses can be equated to its price.  I mean, sure, I don’t own a pair of Manolos (yet!) but I’ve paid more than my fair share to the shoe gods and still gotten blisters. And, by the same account, I’ve bought some “house favorites” at Target, and they have provided more memories than I can count.

I’m an equal opportunity shoe lover!

And, let’s be real…  if some guy legitimately walked up to me in a bar and opened with “Nice shoes, wanna fuck?”  Let’s be clear… I’d think about it. What shoes am I wearing right now? How good is his taste? How ironic do I think he’s being?