Happy Valentine’s Day (hold the heteronormativity)

Did you know that in Mexico (and throughout Latin America) Valentine’s Day is known as the Day of Love and Friendship? (Colombia also celebrates el Día del Amor y la Amistad, but it’s in September, for some reason? Colombianos, explain yourselves. ; )

It’s always been one of my favorite holidays, for obvious reasons: I love pink. I love hearts. And I love friendship. I actually always forget that it’s known as a super romantic ~couple’s holiday~ and I don’t think I’ve ever celebrated in a couple-y way. I also always forget that the color red is associated with Valentine’s Day, so clearly I live in my own valentine bubble!

heart cake 2015

I do like to celebrate by throwing a big party with my friends and making my home as pink as possible. This year Devin and I made it a dance party, featuring some of our friends’ favorite songs (we asked everyone to include their favorite dance song when they RSVP-ed). It ended up being really fun, so I decided it would be fun to share the playlist plus a few photos of our Valentine’s Day treats!

This is from our first Love & Friendship party in 2014. You can tell Devin and I were feeling extra environmental because we made cupcakes without liners, and we dyed the icing pink using water that we used to boil beets. (Don’t worry, we’ve since learned to use frozen berries, haha.) Related: my cousin Caren and I tried to dye the snow in front of our apartment pink using the rest of the beet water, but it ended up looking more “crime scene” than “cute.” (OK, this caption ended up being way more embarrassing than I thought it would be.)
In 2015, Devin surprised me by baking a bunch of heart-shaped cakes, and everyone got to decorate their own!
This year I made punch for the first time, complete with an ice ring, which is just a fancy word for a big piece of ice you make in a bundt pan. I know it kind of looks like someone dropped a cake into the punch (aaah!), but if you don’t think about it too much or stare too hard, it’s kind of pretty, no?
…and here are the treats at the end of the night because I forgot to photograph them earlier. (That three-tiered stand was a gift from our friend Nabeel, and it is my favorite thing in the world : )

P.S. A few other Valentine’s Day posts: 2012 + 2015 + 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day (hold the heteronormativity)


The first order of Valentine’s Day business is a realization: I’ve had some really unexpected Valentine’s Days.

There was the one that started with a photo shoot for a whiskey ad and ended at a Harlem Globetrotters game, with a bizarre pseudo-romantic (not at all romantic) run-in in between.

There was the one that started with hundreds of dogs and ended with free ice cream, with a cinematic random act of kindness in between.

There was the one that started with surprising Devin with a bottle of milk and ended with him surprising me with a carton of soymilk. (I didn’t blog about that one because it’s as straightforward as it sounds. Technically, it happened simultaneously, but you know, poetic license…)

This year I spent Valentine’s Day with my niece Leila on her first birthday, and it was wonderful.

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I love visiting my cousin Vanessa (a.k.a. Leila’s mom) because we have similar tastes and interests, but she’s one million times cooler and more collected than I am. Visiting her is like glimpsing an alternate reality where I spend less time asking “What if?” and more time asking “Who cares?” That sounds funny to say because Vanessa’s very responsible, but she’s super carefree about it (and she literally smiles and says “Who cares?” in response to all my worries, which is exactly what I need to hear). Josh, my cousin-in-law, is a master of deadpan pranks, so their house is always full of laughter, albeit at my expense!

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This weekend I got to assist them in throwing a party featuring pink and hearts and the most ridiculous piñata I’ve ever seen. 

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The party was on Saturday (the 13th), and Leila partied so hard that she slept in on her birthday the next day. Vanessa asked me to watch her while she took a shower because Leila was sleeping in her parents’ bed. I was only with her for a few minutes before she woke up. She looked scared, but somehow I calmed her down before she cried. We looked at each other for a little bit, and then she reached out to hold my index finger and smiled and laughed and talked to me in baby babble.

When I got to Vanessa’s house on Thursday, the first thing I noticed was a print of three sisters hanging in Leila’s room. I knew immediately that she’d bought it to symbolize my mom and her two sisters (sometimes we call our aunts the tías-mamás because we are so close to all of them). I love knowing that Vanessa loves my aunts and mom like I love them. I love thinking about Leila growing up with so many abuelitas, but thinking about this, and remembering that I live far away from all my sobrin@s, hurts.

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I don’t know if I’ll ever get to live close to Leila. I don’t know if she’ll ever rely on me the way I do on my aunts. I don’t know if I’ll ever earn a place on her wall.

But I think I was the first person she saw on her first birthday. And she smiled and held my hand.


Too Legit

If you ever need a hype man for your blog, Devin is the dude for the job. I speak from personal experience.

See, one night I was walking down Broadway in SoHo when it started snowing lightly. I had just gone to the Westminster Dog Show Semi-Finals with two of my friends. We’d all worn ridiculous hats and seen A LOT of dogs.
anna and meI was having a private moment, thinking there’s nowhere else I’d rather be when this man appears out of nowhere and asks if he can give me a valentine. (I forgot to mention it was Valentine’s Day). I said sure, and guess what.

It wasn’t even creepy at all!

It had an encouraging message inside and a dog on the front. Yes, my friends, a DOG VALENTINE ON MY VALENTINE’S DAY OF DOGS! I could not make this stuff up and hope that if someone ever writes a biography of me they include this as an Important Life Moment. The valentine-giver didn’t include his email or Twitter or anything, so it wasn’t just a random act of kindness; it was a random act of kindness without self-promotion in the digital age (doesn’t that sound like a line from some hand-wringing think piece about how the internet has robbed us of our humanity?).

dog valentine

not creepyAnyway, that story actually has nothing to do with the matter at hand, except that it happened as I was walking to an ice cream shop to meet Devin. When I got there, I explained I was meeting someone before sitting quietly and looking out the window.

Then, in walks Devin. First, he asks a couple of questions about the chocolate milkshake. “I’m reviewing it for a blog,” he clarifies. Suddenly, the ice cream salesperson is falling all over herself to help us, giving us the owner’s phone number, calling headquarters to find out what kind of chocolate they use and if it’s fair trade. Things. Are. Happening.

Devin explains that he review shakes for my blog, and the attention shifts to me. “What’s it called?,” asks a girl from a small college in rural Pennsylvania.

“Smooth Liminal,” I answer, trying to channel Devin’s easy confidence.

“Oh! My friend reads that!”

I’m pretty sure “My friend reads your blog” is the 2015 equivalent of “Yeah, I loved their first album,” but I try to play it cool because hello, who doesn’t read my blog? ; )

Then, I stood a little taller and said yes when the salesperson offered to let me sample every flavor.

Too Legit

My Funny Valentines

On Valentine’s Day, I got to be an extra in an ad. The ad was for whiskey, 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,” he 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 a Cat Power show, being serenaded on the guitar to Elliott Smith and 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.

I should clarify that this epic saga lasted all of two and a half weeks during which we saw
each other three times. But! If I leave out that part (and the minor detail that we just weren’t that into each other), I think I have the perfect indie love story on my hands.

I mean, what are the chances of running into each other four years later on the opposite coast of the country? And did I mention that he made a perfect latté art heart on my drink?! (Everyone else got platonic palm fronds.) Tweak the ending to happily ever after, add “handwritten” titles & credits along with a sweet indie pop soundtrack. Ta-dah, love story of our times.

Please advise me on how to sell a movie idea to a major studio. Aesthetically, it should be a mix between The Science of Sleep and 500 Days of Summer. I’d like Emily Haines to do the soundtrack. I’d also like it to be teeming with product placement and for much money to be given to me. Please and thank you.

Back to the pretentious coffee house of my dreams, I sat there dumbfounded and tried to look normal while getting to know my new friends. A few minutes later my phone buzzed thanks to my cousin Vanessa, who asked if I wanted tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters. This turned out to be the perfect way to cement a friendship as my new friends were totally down to see the globe’s best b-ball team!

So, let’s recap: on Valentine’s Day I learned that it’s easy to make friends. All it takes is getting a job as an extra in an ad, going to your favorite coffee shop with other extras, having a weird experience, and getting free tickets to a comedic basketball game just in time to invite your potential friends. Um yeah, I’m still mystified. Please advise me on how to make friends.

Also, does anyone have coffee shop recommendations in Williamsburg? I have to find a new favorite.

My Funny Valentines