I know only two or three people read this max, but I wanted to let anyone who comes across know that I've bought www.cherryvalentino.com and tranferred to wordpress. SO, if you're interested, please update your RSS feed or do whatever you do.





My 27th Birthday is this Sunday.  A lot of people dislike their birthdays, particularly when the downhill slide to 30 begins.  I'm the opposite.  I love my birthday and see it as a reason to celebrate and indulge and be happy that I've made it another year on this planet in a semi-sane state.  I have three of my best girlfriends driving 10 hours from Arkansas to stay with me this weekend.  We're going to eat, craft, go downtown and have an absolutely insanely good time.  I can't wait!  I also asked my loved ones to take photos of themselves enjoying a cupcake and to send it to me.  They have done such an excellent job!  Every day when I check my facebook or e-mail there's a new fun photo! Even my pugs got in on the action.


There are tons more, but I won't put them all on here in case someone is internets shy.  Even my sweet grandparents got in on the action and sent photos of them with an orange that had a lit candle in it.  AN ORANGE!

Things have been shitty lately -- I have a possible driver's licence suspension coming up, I locked myself out of the house with the two pugs in the snow while Jeremy was out of town, and the cold weather has really been beating me down.  But it's almost spring!  I have friends coming in town for the next two weeks!  My boss is being awesome and doing everything his lawyer self can do to help me work out the suspension!  I have an amazing, AMAZING boyfriend who has been so awesome and supportive!  My pugs are adorable!

Happy freaking birthday to me!


Monotonix in Asheville

Monotonix played at the Rocket Club in Asheville.  The lead singer Ami Shalev had broken his leg the night before, but the show went on anyway, perhaps a bit more subdued than usual.

More here.

march 2 2010

march 2 2010, originally uploaded by cherry valentino.

oh, spring, will you ever come?


Our Love is all of God's Money

rosary, originally uploaded by cherry valentino.

This is my most-viewed photograph on Flickr. It's a sunprint that I made of a Rosary I got at the Vatican Museum in Rome after seeing the Sistine Chapel.


LAB (Lexington Avenue Brewery) Review

Jeremy and I went downtown Sunday to visit an antique store I found that is the closest resemblance I've found in Asheville to the flea markets we frequented in Arkansas, but unfortunately it was closed. To make our rainy adventure not a complete bust, we visited LAB, which we've wanted to try since it opened, but weren't exactly willing to fight the crowds to do so.

Lucky for us, it was nearly empty at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The place is absolutely gorgeous, and I'm sure the patio area will be great in the summer. The menu has some great looking stuff on there, and it's all reasonably priced in the $5-$12 range. I had a hard time choosing between the tempeh reuben and the veggie pot pie, but in the end the veggie pot pie won out. It didn't take nearly as long to get as I expected. It had a delicious puff pastry on the top with diced tomatoes and butter as a garnish. The inside was a bit soupier than I expected, and also very sweet, but absolutely delicious. It had chunks of squash (butternut I think), peas, and tiny cubes of chewy tofu and larger chunks of tempeh. The only complaint I had was the tempeh. The rest is incredibly sweet, so the tempeh's graininess just didn't compliment it well at all. I picked those pieces out.

Jeremy had the soup of the day, which was black bean with cilantro. It. Was. Delicious. I couldn't believe how strong the flavors in it were, and it was far better than any other soup I've had at any restaurant in town. The only criticism of it is that it didn't come with any chips or crackers or anything. The menu lists that the rest of the soups come with flatbread, so I'm not sure if it was an oversight or if the soup of the day just doesn't come with it.

As for the beer, I'm not a beer drinker, but Jeremy was quite pleased with both. The stout I tasted had a nice coffee aftertaste and a lovely dark color. He also tried the porter at the suggestion of our waiter, and he said that it was good.

The place was large, but well spaced out so the tables aren't all crammed together. I don't think it's large enough to require a hostess like some have suggested. It just seems to me that if you take a large group out during rush hours, you should expect to have to wait a bit for a table, especially at a brewery where people are likely to spend time hanging out and drinking.

We can't wait to go back and try more food and especially the desserts! Maybe I can get some photos next time.



Is it really 2010? I guess it is. Soon it will be time to celebrate a year of having our adopted pug, Porter, time to mail out a hundred or so handmade valentines, time to celebrate my continued downhill slide towards 30, time to scratch enough money to take a few summer trips, and time to drink sweet tea on the porch and watch fireflies light up our yard. That seems FAR too long away, especially since it's currently 15 degrees outside with a windchill of around -10. BRRRRRR!

In honor of 2010 (twenty-ten or two thousand and ten?), here's a list of things I'd like to do with this year. Not necessarily resolutions. More like goals, really.

1. Learn to make delicious veggie stock. We always buy the tiny $3 boxes that taste sort of like lipgloss, and I know I can make a big yummy vat of it easily if I just take the time to do so.

2. Visit Chicago. I've never been and it seems like a fun place. And aren't Rick Bayless' restaurants there?

3. Complete a knitted project. I'm thinking of a mustachioed cowl that's currently on knitty, but maybe if I start a light summer cardigan now I'll have it finished by then. Or a pair of socks. Or really ANYTHING other than a scarf.

4. Lose 25 pounds and be a more active, healthy person. I'm not getting any younger and my family is not the healthiest bunch. I need to get motivated. I was going to this week, but when it's 10 degrees or less out, the LAST thing I want to do is get into some gym clothes. I'm going to lift my little five pound weights while under my electric blanket sipping hot chocolate. I'm also taking a yoga class at AB Tech, so there's two more days of exercise than I'm getting now, and I love yoga, so that's an added bonus!

5. Take more photos. I didn't get that Nikon for nothin'. I want to build a light box and make good use of it. I want to take more photos at shows I go to. I want to organize them better, back them up, and have a system. I want to update my flickr more.

6. Learn to be a better baker. I have a crappy oven, a small kitchen, little time, no patience, and yet I still LOVE LOVE LOVE baking things. I'm going to try to get better at it. I decided to drop out of the baking and pastry arts program at AB Tech. I was only going part-time and it was impossible for me to get much out of it that way. It's a very 9-5, five day a week program, and I was trying to do a couple hours here and there, which just didn't really work and yet made my life far more hectic than it was worth. I'm still taking a couple of classes just because I'd already gotten financial aid and been advised and all that, but nothing that will take up so much of my week and effort.

7. Write more letters! Possibly get a P.O. Box for out-of-state, stranger pen pals. It seems appealing, but of course I can't use my home address.

8. Get my finances in order and possibly get a second job. I'm in debt. Not any more than anyone else my age, but I need to get it together. I'd like to be fairly stable by the time I'm 30 and I think that's a reasonable goal that I can reach. I listed all my credit card debt with APRs, minimum payments, credit lines, available credit, etc. in a fancy excel sheet, and also made a budget the same way. It was depressing, but at least now I know exactly what I'm facing. I can do it!

9. Learn to swim. I've said this every year. I'll say it again, and I mean it as much as I meant all the other years.

10. Have. More. Fun. The things I remember the most about this year are the fun times with my friends, naturally. The days in between those are just a beige blur of desks and laundry and minutia. The road trips, car sing-a-longs, dinner parties, dance nights, and movie marathons are what stand out. I want more of that.

What are you doing this year?

2009 Rundown

1 King Khan and the Shrines Birthday weekend.
2 Ocracoke Island Vacation
3 Gonerfest.
4 Visits from friends (Trip, Kandi and Katee, Juli and Jim, Amber and Ryan, Justin and Tabetha, Steve)
5 Parties at Juli’s house/studio. Pinatas! Photo booths! Live Bands!
6 Having Dance-offs with my brother, Jordan
7 Prom! At the Grey Eagle
8 Awesome concerts/watching the entire series of the Wire obsessively with Jeremy
9 Getting a surprise trip to Atlanta to eat at Woodfire Grill and go to the Bodies Exhibition
10 When Porter and Nocci finally started getting along!
11 Being snowed in with Jeremy and making chili and hot chocolate and fires.

Music (not necessarily new stuff, just what I listened to the most)
1 Man Man
2 Langhorne Slim
3 Okkervil River
4 King Khan and the Shrines
5 Bryan Hartley and/or Halfacre Gunroom
6 Nobunny
7 The Hold Steady
8 Songs:Ohia/Magnolia Electric Company
9 Ryan Adams
10 Amanda Blank

1 Fantastic Mr. Fox
2 Inglorious Basterds
3 District 9
4 Zombieland
5 Adventureland
6 Friday the 13th (I’m a sucker for horror stuff like this. Can’t wait for the final Sleepaway Camp in 3D!!!)
7 Julie and Julia
8 Coraline
9 500 Days of Summer
10 Where the Wild Things Are

1 The Wire (I know it’s not from this year, but we watched the entire series this year.)
2 Eastbound and Down
3 Top Chef
4 The Office
5 30 Rock
6 Community
7 Chopped
8 Squidbillies
9 Flipped
10 SNL

Readin' (I’m fudging on this a bit b/c I can’t really remember what I read this year. I know there’s some better stuff than this - I’m just bad at recalling what year I read things.)

1 On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee
2 The Know It All by AJ Jacobs
3 McSweeny’s
4 Lolita (re-read for the zillionth time) by Vladimir Nabokov
5 Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
6 The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs
7 GQ Magazine (I have no idea why Gentlemen’s Quarterly is one of my favorite magazines - it just is)
8 Deadstar Twilight by Chez Pazienza
9 Grace After Midnight by Felecia “Snoop” Pearson
10 Things I've Learned from Women Who Dumped Me

Memories that particularly stick out in my mind:

1. Sleeping (or trying to) in the car with Jeremy when we got to the ferry loading place to go to vacation. We didn’t plan well enough and had a night of full bladders, mosquito bites, and hot, sweaty, uncomfortable car sleeping while we waited in the parking lot of some weird, closed down, scary motel for the ferry lines to open.

2. A bird stealing Jeremy’s Cheez-its when we were playing in the ocean and screaming about waves namping us.

3. Drunkenly trying to sing with Justin at Juli’s party and not knowing the words and generally embarrassing myself but not caring because I was surrounded by people I absolutely love!

4. Asking King Khan to play “Took My Lady to Dinner” at the Hi Tone show because it was my birthday and he they hadn’t played it at the two previous night’s shows, and then them playing it as the closing song and me and Juli and Trip and Kandi being SO EXCITED about it!

5. Purple Drank

6. Making David play Connect 4 with me 100 or so times in a row.

7. Getting Porter and then getting home and wondering what the hell I’d done.

8. Porter magically getting on the kitchen stove after climbing a series of furniture and eating 1/2 a frozen pizza and a full pan of used frying oil and then being sick for the rest of the day. I had to sleep on the couch with him and rub his belly all night, and half of it was spent outside with him in a whimpering, puking, pooping little mess. :(

9. Nocci finally beginning to play with Porter and not absolutely despise him.

10. Photobooth insanity at Juli’s!

11. Having my first amuse bouche and mushrooms that tasted like porkchops at Woodfire Grill in Atlanta

12. Seeing the Bodies Exhibition and having strange realizations about the human body.

13. Getting my IUD and it being the most pain I have ever, ever experienced in my life.

14. Meeting Amber and it not being awkward at all, a total surprise and also weird because I was sick as shit.

15. Singing loudly in the car with Jeremy while on roadtrips.

16. Hearing “Two Thieves” at Gonerfest and just being really, really happy.

17. Getting covered in Faygo and PBR at NoBunny and it being an insane amount of fun.

18. Realizing how much I miss my Jonesboro/Memphis friends.

19. Dancing onstage at Langhorne Slim with Zeb.

20. Surprising Justin at his show in Jonesboro on my Birthday!