Tag Archives: New York

De facto

Sunday was a huge day for me. I started preparing for it in real life on Saturday in Times Square, but mentally and emotionally, I had been preparing for months.

Let’s begin at the beginning. On Saturday, I went to Times Square to meet my old boss for lunch. She was in town for a conference and only had a short break, so we had to meet there. I’m not one of those people who hates on Times Square every chance she gets, but man, is it ever confusing! It took me forever to find the Dean & Deluca even with GPS, and on my way, I saw way too many decontextualized cartoon characters (i.e. people dressed up in giant costumes, like Snoopy or Buzz Lightyear). Maybe this is weird, but decontextualized characters make me sad. I just can’t imagine anything more uncomfortable than walking around in a huge, thick costume on a hot summer day and trying to get people to pay you for being in their pictures. Who pays them is what I want to know, and how do they pay the rent? And do they ever get those costumes washed? Also, if I give them money, do I have to interact with them? My instinct is to give each of them a dollar and then run far, far away before I have to touch them. ‘Please do not hug me, Times Square Clifford. Please! I am begging you!’

But back to the matter at hand: lunch with my former boss. The thing about her is that she is so good at sharp pop culture critique, talking social justice realness, and make-up. Over lunch she told me about this new Polish brand of make-up that is CRAAAZY. I’m talking every color you can ever think of in ONE SINGLE tube of lip gloss that when applied is the perfect hue of peony pink (magic, science, chemicals!). I don’t know much about cosmetics, so I ask her for advice whenever I get the chance. On Saturday, after our lunch date, I was inspired to buy an eyeliner marker. Then, I went to buy accessories, something which I buy even less frequently than make-up, but I had to buy some for my Mad Men season finale costume, which is what this whole post is about. I ended up going to the Forever 21 in Times Square (not a lot of small, independent stores there) because I didn’t have much time before I had to go to work. (I almost always work the Saturday night shift and the Sunday morning shift.)

On Sunday, I raced home after work and got ready for the season finale party. I’d heard about a party very close to my apartment sponsored by an adorable vintage clothes-seller, complete with a costume contest. After weeks of agonizing, I’d finally come up with what I thought was the outfit. No one was available to take a full-length picture of me, and I wanted to get there early, so I didn’t spend too much time on pictures, but I did take some shoddy Photobooth ones.

This one gives you an idea of the dress.

This one is about the accessories and eyeliner.

I showed up to the screening an hour and a half early because I wanted to make sure I had a good seat and didn’t miss the costume contest. I looooove costumes of all sorts, and I especially love Sixties fashions, so I couldn’t wait to see what everyone would wear. Unfortunately, no one was free to come with me to the screening, but I’ve never been one to shy away from dates with myself.

When I got there, the place was nearly empty. Slowly people started to trickle in, but none seemed to be in costume, unless they had dressed for a screening of My So-Called Life (Nineties revival is in full force!). Since the party was at a place where they make their own wine, I decided to treat myself to a glass of white wine and an appetizer. When the waiter brought me the wine, he asked me what I thought of it. I took a sip and declared, ‘It tastes like baloney!’ and then we were both confused. I didn’t mean it as an insult, and I can’t even remember the last time I had baloney (bologna)—my best guess is 1997—but that was the first thing I thought of. Instead of retracting my statement, I smiled and shrugged, and the waiter gave me a bemused look like he was thinking, ‘This girl knows absolutely nothing about wine!’

I was still waiting for the costume contest when came the announcement, ‘We are about to start the screening of Mad Men. Please join us next week for the season finale! Don’t forget to dress up! There will be a contest!’

Yup. I was a week early to the season finale. That makes me the de facto winner, right? Right. My prize was a veggie burger with those tiny deli pickles and fries, awarded to me, by me the following day.

But now I have a whole week to agonize/plan my costume for the actual season finale. Do I wear what I already wore, or do I go for a totally different look? Let’s look at some pictures of this season’s best looks. All pictures lifted from Tom + Lorenzo, a blog whose Mad Men style analysis is so good it gives me goosebumps.

I love Joan’s dress (seen in the first and last pictures), but I have nothing like it. Reptilian rhapsody is what I call this look, in case you’re curious.

I do have a dress that’s incredibly similar to this one. I call it my bat dress because of the wings. Of course, it’s not as short, and I’d have to get more accessories. The eyeshadow would be fun, but considering that this is the most memorable look from season five, it seems kind of trite.

This is what I really, really, really wish I could wear. There is something so magical about a matching dress and coat. It gets me every time!

Now tell me, are you dressing up for Mad Men? Where are you watching the finale?  What are your favorite mid-Sixties looks? I want to know everything!


It was a very good day.

My life got a whole lot better a couple of weeks ago.

It all started when I called a podiatrist to schedule an appointment.

‘Doctor’s office,’ said a disgruntled voice with a thick New York accent. It sounded like this: DOC-tah’s ah-fiss.

I wondered if I was being scammed, but I’d found the ‘DOC-tah’s ah-fiss’  through my insurance company, so I crossed my fingers and made an appointment.

On the day of my appointment, I felt apprehensive. But mostly I felt foot pain. It was hard to remember having a day without foot pain since last July, so I headed to see the ‘DOC-tah’ I hoped would be a podiatrist.

On the way, I passed a grocery store with a sign suggesting it only carries



This pretty much sums up New York’s food culture. Just add halal food trucks, Boar’s Head brand deli products, a fruit stand, and a cupcake shop.


I’ve decided New York has an acceptable cupcake-to-kristy ratio. Dreamy, wispy Magnolia cupcakes; minimalist Sprinkles; Hunky Crumbs, Neon cart cupcakes, artisanal Brooklyn beer cupcakes, teeny adorable Melissa‘s cupcakes (thumbcakes, I call them) and every cupcake in between…New York’s got cupcakes on lock. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had the most cupcakes per capita in the world. Long-live New York Cupcakes!


Walking in the Lower East Side, I wondered how I’d be able to tell if the doctor’s office was a sham. Probably when they took out my kidney, I decided.

Then, I saw the sign. For the podiatrist’s office. A pretty little wrought iron stand planted in green grass behind green bushes. I passed a womyn smoking a cigarette and stepped inside where I heard the familiar ‘DOC-tah’s Ah-fiss’. (Do you think she does it on purpose, to temper expectations?)

I filled out forms, in a darling waiting room with blue tufted chairs, and gave them to the receptionist who was shocked I’d made the trek all the way from Brooklyn. It was actually the closest podiatrist to me, but I tried to look as though I felt I deserved a medal. It’s not every day someone looks at me with awe or incredulity, so I say milk it for all you can.

Done admiring me, she ushered me to the exam room. The doc’s first words were, ‘Pretend you didn’t just see me smoking out there’, and I liked her right away (not because of the smoking; because of the gruff New York frankness). I liked her even more after she told me she’d ordered special doggie take-out for her dog and that it smelled ‘better than [her] lunch!’

I may have learned as much about her bichon frisée as I did about my foot condition. I also learned that the doctor is from Brooklyn, but since she left for college, she’s never looked back. I think this is quite a feat, considering that she lives and works five minutes from Brooklyn. However, the longer I live in New York City, the more accustomed I grow to meeting the Staunch Manhattanites. They love their borough and they hate leaving it. If you’ve seen the Sex and the City episode where Miranda meets the man who hasn’t left Manhattan in a decade and has no plans of venturing out, you know what I’m talking about. That character is not an exaggeration.

My Staunchly Manhattan Podiatrist turned out not to be a kidney-harvester after all, and she gave me a surprising diagnosis. Apparently, my foot problems are the fault of my feet’s high arches and my shoes’ inadequate arch support. It is very difficult to find the support my feet need because my arches are soooooo high! I’d been trying to wear flats and tennis shoes to alleviate the pain, but the doctor explained that the best shoes for my feet are actually heels and wedges. That’s right, anonymous blog reader, I was prescribed my favorite kinds of shoes! (I subscribe to the theory of gender performativity, but if ever there was a case for gender essentialism…)

I’m probably going to get custom-made insoles so that I can wear all kinds of shoes like normal people do. Until then, I’m happy wearing my cork wedges. And in case you think my diagnosis was a bunch of hooey, consider this: I went to the podiatrist a whole twenty days ago.  Since then, I have followed her advice and been free of foot pain for the first time in ten months!  I went from taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) at least once a day to forgetting such a medicine exists. I no longer count my steps. I am free of foot pain, and it is glorious! Thank you, doc-tah, and thank you, wedges.

I left the podiatrist’s after taking a picture of myself looking triumphant in the charming bathroom and concluding that, except for the receptionist’s greeting, this podiatrist’s office is all charm.

Then, I caught the subway at a newly-renovated station with a nautical theme and went to work. I’m working at a vegetarian restaurant where I get free food, and it is delicious.

You can’t tell from the picture how lovely the blue and white is. I’ll try to get a better shot next time I’m there.

Hope your feet are in tip-top shape,

It’s springtime in Brooklyn, and I have the Instagram pictures to prove it.

I'm head-over-heels for my new tote bag. Can you say 'arm candy'?!

One of my neighbors is a secret gardener.

Across the East River lies a magical land called Manhattan, where cartons of orange juice cost at least $2.50 (according to the man who charged me $1.75 for a tiny carton of orange juice in Brooklyn).

If you must go to that overpriced borough, take the East River Ferry. That way you can get a closer look at the Williamsburg Bridge.

Speaking of Williamsburg, this guy's been driving around. Score one for subtle advertising.

Tasha's style is having no trouble with the winter-spring transition.

Meanwhile, I'm trying my darndest to delude myself into believing I can pull off tennis shoes.

That’s all for now. Cross your fingers that I get to see a podiatrist soon, so I can go back to wearing tennis shoes only when I want to wear tennis shoes (i.e. never!).



Guest Post: The Search for NYC’s Best Shake, Part II

I have a method for finding something specific to do in New York City. I search for whatever I want to do on Google or Yelp, look at the top five results and pick one without giving it too much thought. It’s a lot like plugging your nose and jumping into the pool. I’m a toe-dipper, myself; but you guys, New York is big. If you attempt to use the toe-dip method, you will get stuck. I repeat: you will get stuck.

And so it came to pass that on my birthday morning, Devin and I found ourselves at the top-rated restaurant in Yelp’s weekday breakfast & brunch category. And Devin found himself drinking a milkshake at nine o’clock in the morning. The things that man does for the sake of science, I tell you!

Here’s his review. (Note: Dev uses a 1-5 scale, with 1 being the least and 5 being the best.)

Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant

While the food at Clinton Street Baking Co. was great, the shake was a bust. I’m not sure if it was cheap ice cream or skim milk (I would not go so far as to accuse them of using ice), but this shake was bland.

Devin evaluates the presentation.

FLAVOR: 2 – It’s a bad sign when the whipped cream has as much flavor as the shake.
CONSISTENCY: 3 – The menu calls it a classic extra thick shake, but it’s more like extra thick chocolate milk. Not a soup, but nothing special.
PRESENTATION: 3 – While glass is good, if you are going to use the old fashioned diner-style, you should include the steel mixing cup with the extra shake. Everybody loves a bonus.
AMBIANCE: 4 – Bustling and lots of natural light, we had a nice brunch but did have to wait 30 minutes outside for a seat.
ETHICS: – Aah…I forgot to ask.
OVERALL VALUE: 2 – At more than $6, this is not much shake with not much flavor for your money.

'No shake left unfinished!'

The time I turned twenty-three

This year I spent my birthday feeling a little out of sorts. All of my very best friends in New York gave me lovely presents and surprises, but for most of the day I was alone in this big city I am trying to call home.

I felt like I should feel lucky to have the day off on my birthday—a Tuesday, no less—and I should be happy exploring New York by myself, because I have always dreamed of living here and now I do. But the truth is, I felt lonely and overwhelmed despite my best efforts to feel otherwise.

This led to me getting upset with myself for not being happier, more thankful, more well-adjusted. It went like this: first, I got upset at myself for not feeling like a New Yorker and for wondering if I’m not cut out for this place after all. Then, I got upset at myself because isn’t living in New York and hating it the biggest cliché of all?

This emotional catch-22 lasted until I talked to a girl on her way to get a tattoo symbolic of her hometown. She told me she was moving back home after living here for a year and wanted to get something to remind her that she’d come to New York for a reason. ‘It wasn’t to live here; it was to realize how much I love home.’

Just writing that puts me at ease. When I mulled it over, I realized the reason I came to New York was to grow. I may not have a favorite restaurant or a dream job, but I am certainly learning something and striving to be a better person every day. And this is exactly what I want my life to be about.

When I think about my twenty-third birthday, I hope I’ll remember this lesson…and one of my favorite birthday parties ever. (It happened the Friday after my birthday.)

Do you want to see pictures? Okay!

Anda and Tasha helped me put up these streamers.

Most of the food and flowers came from the Union Square farmers’ market! All the drinks were sparkly.

This is my soul in cake form.

Everyone ate and talked and had fun (I hope). Some people made hats and drawings. I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in ages!

There was the traditional singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ followed by the traditional blowing out of candles.

I finally found a birthday dress the day before my party! I’ve written before about my clothing politics and am proud to report this is a vintage find. That belt, also vintage, is one of my first attempts at accessorizing. Do you want to know what the buckle is?

A horse!

Thanks to Jess and Tasha for the majority of these pictures.  Thanks to all my friends and family for a terrific birthday, overall.

My Funny Valentines

On Valentine’s Day, I got to be an extra in an ad. The ad was for a liquor, but we were actually sipping on a mixture of apple juice and coffee. (Delicious and avant-garde! Sure to be a hit at your next brunch!)

I arrived at the photo shoot and immediately liked two of my fellow extras. They were funny and gregarious! They were not too cool to talk to me! Throughout the shoot, I lamented my lack of friend-making savvy. If only I were more like my mother blah blah, etc.

Thankfully, one of the extras suggested we go to my favorite coffee shop after the shoot. When we got there, the barista took one look at me and, before I could say ‘soy latté,’ asked me if I was kristy. I am kristy, but I had no clue who he was. ‘It’s been a while…’ he trailed off, leaving me with no choice but to stammer, ‘Yeah—um—who—I don’t recognize…’

‘I’m [generic boy name with interesting spelling].’

Cue the memory montage of meeting [generic boy name with interesting spelling] at an indie rock show, being serenaded on the guitar to Elliott Smith & Bob Dylan, hearing about his passion for latté art and his dream of working at a snobby coffee shop (mission accomplished!). It all ended with him reading me a farewell letter from his Moleskin notebook at a bus stop, asking to kiss me, & yelling, ‘Miss you already!’ as I boarded the bus.
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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.