28 August 2010

Now I'm not sayin' she's a gold digger...

Although I despise Kanye West-- I felt this way long before he embarrassed himself during the VMA's-- his song "Gold Digger" is... well... awesome. I love it. But it got me thinking, is it right to judge a woman deemed a 'gold digger?'

My immediate response has always been a resounding 'yes.' A social climbing woman interested only in a man's money and/or connections (sometimes power is worth more than coin) then marrying him as a result of it is selfish and low. Or is it? During the 18th and 19th centuries (well technically ALL of them before the 20th), marriages were arranged by families hoping to either elevate to or maintain a high social status, as well as add to property and wealth. They considered such marriages prudent and dutiful. Now these same sentiments inspire anger, negative judgement, and the idea that a woman who participates in 'gold digging' is one step away from prostitute.

Although I certainly agree that some Gold Diggers (men included) have the worst possible intentions, waiting for a spouse to die and making the rest of their existence hell until his/her passing, there are those individuals who look for a wealthier significant other for more practical reasons. First of all, security and comfort-- and don't we all want those? While society faults GD's for pursuing men with large bank accounts, we all strive for padded finances, spacious homes, nice cars, and the freedom to travel without huge budget restraints. A man or woman in possession of a prosperous career is a "catch."

Another sensible, or at least common, reason for desiring a baller is a better life. I'll use myself as an example. I have a great family and my parents worked hard to give my brothers and me a comfortable life with a few adventures scattered along the way. We had a comfortable home, clothes on our backs, food in our stomachs (plenty in mine), we even had a third car and cellphone for the 3 of us to share once we reached 16. However, our cousins had larger homes, bigger bedrooms (my brothers shared all of their life), more 'things,' and went to better schools. For all of my time spent in public school, our district was extremely poor with overcrowding, and yearly worries from the administration about eliminating the Arts programs (God forbid they consider cutting back on sports... but that's another discussion).
Now that I'm an adult and striving toward parenthood, I want to give my kids the toys & stylish clothes I couldn't have, a dream home that'll make a great party house, take them all over the world, and most of all a better education. Although I married my husband for a million better reasons than money-- I've got a Latin lover and devoted hubby all rolled into one for gosh sakes!-- one aspect that made him a more ideal man on paper was his potential toward greatness. I knew his confidence, strength, looks, and intelligence would take him far on whatever career path he chose. Does that make me a gold digger? Personally, no.

Overall, the point is we're so quick to judge before considering our own choices and the real reasons we make them. "Gold Diggers" exist and some have giant holes where their souls used to reside before selling them to the Devil, but many women and men just want security and a comfortable life. The number one cause for marital arguments is money, after all.

27 August 2010

Visits by Mom

Whenever Mom comes to visit, I always feel the need to arrange a bustle of activity to keep her occupied since she is bursting with energy. The result being our visits are always too short, and I've seen more of northern Wisconsin than I ever thought possible-- and it's not over yet. Of course, knowing or not knowing Mom, I should assure you every mini-trip is an adventure full of laughter (I should have abs of steel, we laugh so much).

Anyway, during Mom's latest trek up to 'Packerland,' she insisted we visit the Kristmas Kringle Shoppe and Galloway House in Fond Du Lac-- 45 minutes out of the way. Although I don't have any photos of the cute 'Shoppe,' let me assure you it was everything a Christmas shop should be, full of themed trees, shiny ornaments, lights galore, obnoxious carols playing over and over and over, the ever present Dickens Village, nic nacs, whats-its, and thing-a-mabobs.

However, the best part of this leg on our journey was my over-caffeinated, bubbly Mother's failing attempts at entertaining our Scrooge of a Cashier ringing up her ornament purchase. As Mom gathered her items, she purposely turned to Ebenezer's female counterpart and exclaimed, "Merry Christmas!" If looks could kill Mom would have been vaporized.

On to Galloway House! As I am far from a shutter bug, here's a smattering of photos from our odd venture at a historical landmark. It took us maybe an hour to do the entire thing-- we're not a family of readers when it comes to museum displays and markers. Once, we did Chicago's entire Field Museum in two hours, a record of which we are quite proud.

These mannequins haunt my nightmares. And the creepiest part was some of them would be hidden in displays and more than once scared the crap out of us. Not to mention the fluorescent lights were on timers, so every time we entered a creepy old building the lights would flash on with that eerie buzzing noise you hear in serial killer warehouses of horror movies.

The historical town made up of relocated old buildings. I have a thing for any old church, but my favorite are stone.

Mom at the old cabin.

Another view of the old cabin. I don't know how they did it back then.

Galloway House: Wide Shot

Galloway House: Tall shot so you can see the tower.

Mom's attempt at pole dancing...?

At this point, Mom's camera had run out of batteries and she really liked this train so I helped her out.

Church altar.

Inside the women's clothing store. I dig this dress.

But this one is my favorite and probably what my wedding dress would've looked like if I was skinny enough to pull it off. It's just so pretty!

One Luxurious Anniversary

According to my mother and her decades old trusty address book, the traditional 3rd Anniversary Gift is leather. Keep that in mind considering neither of us knew that when we chose each other's gifts.

For our marriage celebration this year, I decided to purchase Hubby a nice briefcase for his new job with my Macy's gift cards. On his end, he decided to spoil me with my first ever COACH PURSE! I couldn't believe it! How great is my man?

I picked out this beautiful Poppy Purse from Coach, with denim & metal detail alongside the original 1940's logo. Since it zippers and has plenty of pockets, it is both fashionable and functional. I love it! Even though I am not a saver and don't place too much sentimental value on material things, I won't ever be able to bring myself to throw my very first designer purse away.
Perhaps I'll have a daughter and give it to her.

King Bed fit for a Queen

Another milestone reached by me at 25 was the purchase of a king-size bed for our master bedroom. YIPPEE!!! For MONTHS Hubby and I have suffered from chronic back & neck pain, lack of sleep, and the inability to utilize our previous queen bed due to a rickety frame-- it collapsed several times at random points. The mattress was caved in in the center, it made the worst, most annoying creaking sound every time I shifted, and there was an overall lack of space since we're both tall and I'm wider than the average person.

It has always been a dream of mine to have such a luxurious and large bed-- I am all about spreading my laptop, notebooks, and novels on top of my bed to do work and now I have ample room to do so. Plus we bought a Sterns & Foster mattress. It was so soft I didn't want to cover it with sheets! And yes, we got a deal. Stan the Salesmen took 20% off everything: all pieces of the frame, the mattress, box spring, and gave us the mattress pad for half off with free delivery and setup! They even disposed of the old mattress and box spring!!!

Thus, everything cost $200 less than the original price of the mattress set alone AND we have a year with no interest to pay that sucker off. Not to mention we found the bedding, which was our current bed set just in all neutral colors, on clearance AND I had Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons for all of the pillows! With the guest queen mattress and Hubby's old box spring, our old frame works better than ever and doesn't creak anymore. It's amazing what difference a mattress makes. Both Hubby and I have eliminated our pain, get a peaceful night's sleep, and neither of us bother the other when we shift. I recommend this mattress to EVERYONE! Our bedroom has become a nightly haven-- what a blessing!

24 August 2010

Quick Fire Film Review: Aug 2010

As I'm behind in my movie reviewing, I've combined a few films with short blurbs about why you should or shouldn't see them. I must warn you, we'll probably disagree.

"Salt" Lacking in Flavor
For the life of me, I cannot figure out the world's obsession with Angelina Jolie besides the fact she stole Jennifer Aniston's husband who happened to be Brad Pitt. Other than that, the big-lipped brunette no longer has claim to Hollywood, especially after this predictable doosey of a film. Basically, Angelina wanders from scene to scene, pouting her lips, smoldering her eyes, changing her hair, and trying her damnedest to look tough. Oi. Where is Jason Bourne when you need him? If anything, rent the film when you're in the mood for a brainless popcorn flick.

"Eat Pray Love" the Book
Julia Roberts is lovely. Julia Roberts is talented. Julia Roberts is a favorite actress of mine. However, Julia Roberts is not a good reason to see this film. In terms of an adaptation I cannot comment since I preferred to see the movie before reading the world-famous book. As a film, it's... okay. Everyone does a great job, especially Richard Jenkins, and the scenery is beautiful. That's it. My biggest problem is the message stories like this teach: a woman needs to travel the world to find herself. If you're lost then you're lost and a change of location isn't going to fix that-- it's the internal journey that will bring you to your destination. Don't get me wrong, I strongly encourage experiencing international culture, I just find it a hindrance when on the path to self-discovery... too many distractions. I'm hoping the book will shed more life on Gilbert's inner journey and thoughts so I can fully understand the transition-- a factor film can't show. Again, I'd say it's worth renting.

"The Expendables:" A Fun Bad Action Flick or Just Bad?
Ugh. Here's the problem with Sly Stallone's attempt at creating the most bad-ass action film in the UNIVERSE: the action sucks. During the climactic rescue scene where all of our heroes are acting out an explosive plan of attack, I literally sat in the theater yawning and thought to myself, "Gosh I'm bored." Apparently no one told Stallone not to take himself so seriously and inflated his ego instead. The action is bad, but the jokes are worse-- and I LOVE bad action films! The 80's and 90's action flicks rock my world, there's nothing better, but no one bothered to reference any of them. Skip it altogether, but if you're super nostalgic RENT and DO NOT GO TO THE THEATERS!

"Piranha" 3D is Not For Me
Ironically, my title is actually a compliment to the film as I HATE gory horror films and that's exactly what "Piranha" succeeds at: grossing me out. I actually had to leave it was so graphic; I came back because I needed to see how it ended, but my stomach was churning the whole way through. Unfortunately for me, the film had falsely been hyped as cheesy, with more laughs than horror. Even my husband, who was dying to see it and wanted my support which I was happy to give, admitted the film was not for me. I've also seen my fair share of bad horror movies and well... Piranha is not that bad, pretty freaky actually. So if that's your thing, by all means head to the theater and pay extra for the glasses.

Kick Ass and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Though the above post mentions some of this summer's hottest movies, none of which live up to their hype, these two films exceed expectations-- but only if you like that sort of thing. Cult films can be hit or miss depending on the subject matter, imagery, and audience taste--I dig them.

First up: "Kick-Ass"

Although the theatrical release of "Kick-Ass" happened months ago, the DVD just came out to a video rental store near you, and if you like colorful, violent, and twisted films this one is perfect. The film has been adapted by Brits (that's right folks, it's a foreign film also) from a comic book sharing the same title, is just as violent, super fun, and disturbing. What do I mean by 'disturbing?' See that purple haired hero in the above picture? She is a 13 year old assassin that does nasty things with knives. No joke. A good portion of the combat reminds me of anime. However, "Kick-Ass' is ridiculous, darkly humored, and one of the more original stories out there. Totally worth a rental.

Next up: "Scott Pilgrim vs The World"

After seeing "Inception," my husband and I never thought we'd come across another summer film so entertaining and interesting it deserved a repeat viewing... until we saw "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World." Another comic book adaptation, SPVTW is far less violent and twisted than "Kick-Ass." Instead, it's hilarious as Scott must battle the seven evil ex's (with super powers) of the woman he hopes to date. The world is completely fictional yet all the characters believe in this reality so as an audience member you join right in. Did I mention the music is fantastic? And the jokes? We laughed out loud several times and can't wait to go back. Unfortunately SPVTW will most likely be underrated until it's available for rent since going to the movies is expensive-- most people will have their doubts about spending the money. But I promise you it's awesome and you will LOVE IT!

08 August 2010

Easy Virtue and Dorian Gray

The other day, Hubby and I each rented a blu-ray and got to choose from 2 free blu-rays courtesy of the Blockbuster In Store Rewards program. We are one of the few households without Netflix (although I thoroughly recommend Netflix over any other rental option currently available, it's just not in our budget at the moment). Anyway, our free movies were LOTR 1 & 2 which we have yet to carve out the necessary half day required for viewing these films. Although this will be epic, it's not the point of my blog. The other 2 films- which we chose separately- were "Dorian Gray" and "Easy Virtue." Both British. Both period pieces. Both starring Colin Firth. How novel. Neither of us had seen DG and Hubby hadn't seen EV- I had and LOVED the film!

We began our movie night with "Dorian Gray" and for the life of me I could not pinpoint the strangle familiarity of Dorian's face. Why did he look so darn familiar? Unable to let it go, I grabbed my trusty laptop and entered in the only site to use when trying to figure out where you've seen that actor whose name eludes you: The International Movie Database http://www.imdb.com

And low and behold what do I discover? The lead in "Dorian Gray" happens to also be the lead in "Easy Virture" alongside Colin Firth! What are the odds? It's fate, I tell you, FATE! Both films were great, entertaining, visual, and interesting. However, the clear winner in this situation is "Easy Virtue." With its dry, almost dark humor, amazing production design, and somewhat twisted story, EV is an excellent film for any collection. But you should still see them both...


07 August 2010

A Tattoo

Though I have yet to embark on the adventure that is permanently inscribing messages and art by way of stabbing into the skin, I would like to get a tattoo before I'm 30. Preferably in the next year before I'm a mother and everyone thinks I'm getting one to appease a mid-life crisis. Honestly, I would love to get LOTS of tatts all over my body, but with my fatness, age, and career path, covering my skin with body art will work against me.

However, I want at least 3 small-ish tattoos in out-of-the-way places the art of which contains deeply personal messages about who I am and what I love. Here's is the first I found on Google and absolutely fell in love.

Pretty sweet, no?