Monthly Archives: January 2012

Guest Post: The Best Shake in NYC

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while or know me in real life, you’ve heard of my partner Devin. I haven’t yet written a super lovey romantic post about him because ewww. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to write a public love letter without simultaneously blushing and vomiting, but for now, let me just tell you one thing.

Once upon a summer of 2009, Devin came to Mexico to meet my family. One night while having dinner in the Copper Canyon, my mom asked him what his favorite food was. Without hesitation, he said, ‘Milkshake.’ My mother was aghast (milkshakes are not food!). Dev quickly corrected himself and claimed the Mexican burrito* as his favorite, but this was a shameless lie! His foremost loyalty is–and will always be–to the milkshake.

That’s why when we passed this sign in November, I interpreted it as a challenge for my favorite milkshake connoisseur.

Oh yeah?

It was thus decided that every time we pass a restaurant that boasts having ‘the best shake in NYC,’ Devin must attempt to verify that claim through a rigorous taste test! Below find Devin’s first review. (Note: Dev uses a 1-5 scale, with 1 being the least and 5 being the best.)

* Mexican burritos are not the size of a human baby and do not have rice or other weird toppings. Just beans on a reasonably-sized tortilla. Mmmm!


After our Thanksgiving trip to Philadelphia, we stopped at brgr in Midtown near where the Megabus left us. We really had no choice; their window advertised that they were ‘Voted Best Shake.’ Granted their award was for some berry concoction, but no award in the world could affect my shake order. It’s chocolate every time. brgr calls it “the Black & White,” but don’t fear; this is a classic chocolate shake.

brgr's Black & White shake

FLAVOR: 4 – Bonus points for leaving some marbled veins of chocolate sauce but mostly mixed.
CONSISTENCY: 5 – Solid, solid, solid. 30 seconds upside down, and this shake doesn’t budge, yet it glides effortlessly up the straw; perfect.
PRESENTATION: 2 – We dined in, but brgr only has plastic cups. Not glass, not compostable. Not styrofoam, but still, not classy.
AMBIANCE: 4.5 – I like this place. Despite being new and a little fast food-y, the high ceiling has beautiful exposed beams and the single-person bathrooms are marked “vegetarian” and “carnivore.”
ETHICS: 4 – local and grass-fed = fresh and tasty, but I’m not sure their chocolate is fair trade.
OVERALL VALUE: 4 – At more than $5, brgr’s shakes are not cheap, but as I said, it’s a solid 16 oz, and I’d say that we got our money’s worth of chocolaty creamy goodness.




Big changes to a little blog

I have a bad case of the Januaries tonight. Do you ever get those? A case of the Januaries is like a case of the Mondays writ large. It’s cold; you can’t listen to Christmas carols to make up for it; and just when you are thinking about leaving the house, it gets dark. To top it off, you’re out of Swiss Miss. Ugh, January!

I just said to Tasha and Anda (hereafter T&A), ‘Sorry, I’m in a weird mood,’ and they replied, ‘Me, too!’ PROOF. The Januaries Are Real.

When the Januaries strike, I try to be productive and do things I can feel good about.  This morning I woke up and made myself breakfast.

It was good but not good enough to ward off the Januaries. Blah. Anyway, then I tidied my room until I could tidy no more. It’s still not in good enough shape to photograph. Sorry. Maybe someday soon. (Don’t hold your breath.)

Seeing that I had done all I could in the physical realm, I moved on to the virtual and made some changes I had planned for this blog.

#1 The header now reads, ‘living every teenage girl’s idiotic dream (according to my uncle).’
About a week ago my uncle G suggested that I ‘start a webpage since [I am] living every teenage girl’s idiotic dream of moving to New York City and living in a tiny rodent-infested* apartment’. My cousins informed him that I already have a blog, and he was appalled that I am not charging for all this great content. (Teach me how?)

#2 There’s a bunch of stuff in the column to your left.
Me! Archives! A subscribe button! Tags!

#3 My blog now provides quick access to the best Betty Boop clip art I could find.
Would you kindly have a look at the top of this page? Right below the blog header is a link to Betty Boop  clip art. Despite what this suggests, I am not an authority on the matter. I’m sadly not even a fan of Betty Boop clip art. The scoop is this: I mentioned B. Boop once, which led to many people finding my blog by searching for clip art of the aforementioned cartoon. It quickly became the number one way people find this blog, and I am all about giving the people what they want. Betty Boop-ers, I hope you’ll stick around! Though I don’t know much about Ms. Boop, I happen to share her most famous physical attribute (five feet tall, just like her).

Those are all the changes for now, but I hope to spruce things up around here more often.

Thanks for reading!


‘Aunt’ means never having to change a diaper.

I got the coolest present ever for Christmas. Her name is Victoria Elena. She is my niece. Sometimes we call her ‘Veev’ for short.

This is our first picture together. Don't mind our pajamas (especially my middle-aged pair).

Having a new niece, hanging out with her, and then having to leave her got me thinking about all this aunt business. What does it mean to be an aunt? What kind of aunt am I? I asked Veev, but she just made gurgly noises. So then, I thought I’d consult the internet and shared my findings, but that seemed impersonal. After all, I’m not just anybody’s aunt. I’m Victoria’s aunt. Long story short, I decided to write her a letter, and the letter turned out to be a great introduction to my family and life with Victoria, so I decided to share it with you (because I know you must be super curious).

Continue reading

2011 in review

Hi, everyone! I’m still visiting my family in Mexico. Today is Día de Reyes, the last day of the holiday season here, which means I absolutely have to post my year-in-review post and stop listening to Christmas carols riiiiight now.


The year started with my cousin Carol's wedding!

I got to help teach kindergarteners about Martin Luther King, Jr. and social justice.

Devin and I dressed up as 'American Gothic' in sepia for a costume party.


My housemates and I took family pictures thanks to our fearless leader Hallie!

We've never been a Valentine's Day couple, but this year Devin surprised me with my favorite cake! Here we are making a toast: Dev is holding my little glass of soymilk, and I'm holding his giant bottle of local organic cow's milk. (We are a caricature. And how!)

I celebrated my birthday with brunch at The Nines.


March was a hard month because my grandmother passed away. I felt fortunate to be able to fly home and see my family, but it was hard.

When I was little my grandmother would take me to Mass and out for ice cream afterward. I told Devin about our tradition, and he took me to do just that in memory of my Abbita.

I had to spend Spring Break in the library working on my thesis.

...but I did get to go skiing on Mt. Hood!

I almost ruined Anda's surprise birthday party. Thank goodness I didn't! It was in our old dorm, and the pizza was delicious, and her sister baked a cake.


In April, I finished doing the fieldwork for my thesis. Doing fieldwork was fun and rewarding, but it meant I had to spend a lot of time waiting at bus stops in the rain (totally worth it).

When I wasn't doing fieldwork, I was in the library. Devin was a dear. He brought me like a million library dinners.

This is my favorite picture from April. Nate's glasses were foggy.


I finally finished my thesis!

My dream of sharing Portland with my mom (again) and my two aunts (for the first time) came true! Here are the mamis and me at my favorite coffee shop!

Dev & my mom got me a new computer for graduation!

Before we parted ways, Melissa & Anda & I gathered for one final brunch. It was yummy, but I am still baffled: why didn't we go to our usual spot?


At my first grown-up job in downtown Portland, I discovered the joys of the grown-up lunch break!

The best show I saw all summer was the Rock 'n Roll Camp For Girls Spring Showcase.

In Wisconsin I discovered a breathtakingly beautiful bakery. The walls were covered with vintage recipe cards!


July was a big month, so brace yourself for lots of pictures!

Fourth of July was so much fun! The weather finally turned summery, and I feel like I hung out with fifty-three friends the whole weekend! Also, my hair looks like Cocker Spaniel ears in this picture.

I got to live with my friend Nora all summer! Her birthday party was Kreayshawn-themed. This is one of my favorite pictures ever for the following reasons: a) Nora rules, b) it showcases our perfectly 90s kitchen, & c) you can see all our spices because the cabinet door fell off its hinges.

Dev & I had a going-away party where everything was local (we even made sure our guests were real-life, actual Portlanders!).

Devin & I gave each other watches to mark our engagement!

I had to say bye to Devin AND the kristy dreambike (they took a train to the East Coast).


Before I left Portland, I discovered what an artichoke in bloom looks like.

Then, I went to Texas to do fun Texas things, by which I mean I went to the mall with my mom. A lot.

I bid farewell to my summer hair at Shampoo before moving to New York.


This was our building in Park Slope. It was pretty, but Anda, Marika, & I had to share a one-bedroom with an enormous pitbull who only ate raw chicken.

When my mom made me evacuate New York for September 11th, I found a brunch place that matched my dress.

Seriously, it matched my dress perfectly!


I fell head-over-heels in love with my new Subway stop!

Grand Central & I started to feel like pals.

This was my favorite sign at Occupy Wall Street.


I spent most of the month taking care of my mom post-surgery. The best part of the day was sharing breakfast in her bed.

I also spent a lot of time with Laisha.

I was going to have to skip Thanksgiving, but thanks to the genius of Dev & the East Coast's adequate train infrastructure (rest of the States, get with it!), I flew to Baltimore & reached Philadelphia by train just in time for dinner with Devin's family. Here we are with Grandma Pat!


I marched for Voting Rights!

My first Christmastime in the cityyyyy! (You cannot imagine how many times I sang that one. Quietly. To myself. Alone. I'm not that annoying.)

Then, I spent Christmas with my whole family, where I had so much fun that I forgot to take pictures. This one of some wimyn, a girl, & THE baby in the family comes to us courtesy of my cousin.

2011, thank you for the lessons & good times. You are dismissed.