2016 in review



In January, Devin and I took a road trip to New York, with a stop in Cleveland on the way. Seeing lots of friends (and one cousin––hi, Bridget!) was the perfect start to the year.



In February I traveled to Phoenix to celebrate my favorite valentine on her first birthday. I wasn’t sure what my first birthday in Madison would be like, but my friend Makeba came to visit, and it ended up being really fun!


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Illustrating Immigration, a collaborative project featuring art by Anja Riebensahm, was published in March. When Anja and I came up with the idea to illustrate true stories about immigration to counter negative stereotypes, we had no idea how much worse anti-immigrant rhetoric would get. 2016 has been a terrifying, tiring year for many immigrants, and 2017 will likely see a deterioration of the few rights undocumented Americans have won in the past eight years. I feel sick when I think about it, and I am even more committed to sharing migration stories and encouraging solidarity in any way I can.



I finally perfected my tacos al pastor recipe, which felt like heaven for this Mexican vegetarian who misses almost all of her favorite foods.


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In May, I wrote about my grandmother’s feminism (alternate title: basketball, divorce, and secret leave-your-husband funds). 


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My five-year college reunion happened this summer. Fortunately, I’ve been able to see most of my friends from college very often, but it was great to live in the dorms for a few days and have everyone in one place. I especially liked photographing people and trying to capture what I love about them. This is Salim, the happiest person I know.


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In July, I went to Playa del Carmen with my aunt and my mom. Then, I went to Mexico City to see two of my sobrin@s and my cousins before going to Chihuahua to see the rest of my family. I started 2016 thinking I wouldn’t be able to spend much time in Mexico, so I felt extra lucky to spend a month there.


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I got to take a quick trip to New York at the end of the summer. My friends Chris and Dani had extra tickets to Afropunk, where everyone’s style was so good that I got over my fear of asking strangers if I could take their picture. 


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In September I came back to Wisconsin, in time to get flowers from the farmers’ market and have a surprise party for Devin and his greatest friends.


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My beautiful, up-for-anything friend Melissa came to visit me in Madison, and I laughed for four days straight. Here we are in miniature as part of an exhibition called Lovey Town.


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After the election, Devin and I drove to Chicago and went to Trinity United Church of Christ, the church that President Obama and his family attended when they lived there. They post clips of the sermons every week on Instagram––this one is my favorite.


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The best part of Christmas was hearing Carlos Manuel ask, “¿Es mío?” before opening each present to make sure he wasn’t opening someone else’s gift.

2016 in review

2014 in Review

A couple of weeks ago, it hit me. “It’s been a really hard year.” I was on the subway, and as soon as I thought it, I tried to un-think it: “Everything worked out okay. Everyone I love is okay. I have a home and food and friends and family. How can I be so ungrateful?” I felt ashamed.

When I reached my destination, a friend of mine asked me how things were, if so-and-so was better; if situations had improved. I answered that they had and then recounted matter-of-factly all the new problems that had come up. (I’m sorry for being vague. It’s just that these stories aren’t mine to tell.) She looked at me and said, “Oh honey, you’ve had to be old before your time.”

I was surprised to hear her say that. She’s a real New Yorker, by which I mean strong and honest and definitely not sentimental, and she’s had a much harder year than I have. But she recognized that I’d been going through some challenges, and somehow that little gesture made me feel better. I guess it gave me permission to feel the way I felt.

Every year I do one of these year-in-review posts. I’m doing one this year because there are lots of wonderful things I want to remember (and everything did turn out well, thankfully), but it didn’t feel right not to include a disclaimer. I guess it’s my way of saying, I hope you give yourself permission to feel however you damn well please about your own year. It’s okay if it wasn’t the Best Year Ever and you’re just glad it’s over.

Okay, disclaimer done. Roll the highlight reel!

12 Pictures from 2014

1 VictoriaVictoria gave me the biggest hug and kiss to ring in the new year. Después de abrazarme dijo, “¡Yo le digo a Tía Kiki que la quiero mucho!”


2 kahlo et trotskyDevin and I dressed up as Kahlo and Trotsky for a dinner party. Our friend had picked the Rivera-Kahlo-Trotsky love triangle as the inspiration for her meal, but no one else wore costumes. We did it on a whim and just happened to have fresh flowers for my hair!


3 mami and a horseI fulfilled my goal of taking my mom to a little island, and it was a dream.

4 tasha and anna
Mementos from my favorite night during a cold, cold spring.

5 Vanessa

It’s always a treat to see my cousin Vanessa on the East Coast. This was at the 50th wedding anniversary party for her parents-in-law.

6 turning 25
My birthday’s in February, but we didn’t have the party until June. The theme was party animals!

           7 maineDevin’s family invited us to beautiful Maine (my first trip there!).

           8 Carlos ManuelDevin and I got to meet our new nephew Carlos Manuel. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much love so quickly for anyone on Earth.

9 view from new apartment
After an arduous apartment search (and sooooooooo much help from our friends), we moved into the apartment of our dreams. This is the view from our bedroom.

Ruth Bader GinsburgA Halloween of costumes. Pictured: my take on Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

11 mami & me
Mami & me after a topsy-turvy Thanksgiving.

12 presents under the tree
Presents under the tree at my first Christmas in Wisconsin.

In 2015, I hope you eat your favorite food. I hope you laugh so hard your stomach hurts and your eyes water and just when you think the laugh attack is over, you start laughing all over again. I wish you 365 good hair days and lots of time spent with all your favorite people. I hope you read a book that makes you cry because it’s that good, and I hope you write that letter you’ve been meaning to write. I hope  you don’t feel overwhelmed if you see something unfair. I hope you know you can make things better, in your personal life and in the wider world.

2014 in Review


This fall Devin finally moved to New York, and he even moved in with me (hey, thanks!). After resigning ourselves to living in a studio, we found a tiny one-bedroom on a tree-lined street just in time. I discovered that Devin is really good at decorating, or as he calls it, ‘maximizing vertical space’.

On Halloween, I dressed up as the very scary Phyllis Schlafly and we decorated little cookies at work. In November, Marika and Tasha sent us to see Drake because they’re ‘the f*cking best’ (sorry, Drake reference). I didn’t think I could like Drake any more, but then I heard him sing a cappella—and his stage banter!!!! He is funny without being mean, which is the ultimate comedic achievement in my book. Devin mused that Drake should make more political music because he seems like a cool guy (he really does), but we both bet he’ll keep singing about wimyn and money in a ‘more is better’ way for the foreseeable future. Oh well. We’ll just keep pretending he has rad politics and all his lyrics are in code.

My mom and my friend Issy came to visit around Thanksgiving. It was fun. And cold. Pro-tip: don’t go to MoMA P.S. 1 until after the Mike Kelley exhibit closes. In the words of my mom, it’s ‘creepy’. We all agreed. Pro-tip: do go see the new musical about Carole King. To quote myself, it’s the best!

After Thanksgiving, it was Christmastime, fa la la. My favorite Christmas gift is always my family, but this year it got a little bigger because Devin was there, too. This was the longest time we’ve spent together in Mexico, and I loved sharing the everyday things I do when I’m home, like walking around the big park and grocery shopping at Alsuper, formerly Futurama. We got to spend a lot of time with my our (!) niece Victoria who learned to call Devin ‘Tío Bibin’. I always think I’ve hit my maximum capacity for love until I hang out with her. The older she gets, the more I love her. And not without reason. On New Year’s Eve, she told me she kisses me because loves me. On New Year’s Day, we were playing on a swing set, but we had to leave. We asked her to come get in the car, and she said, ‘I can’t.’ 
‘Why not?’, I asked.
‘Someone is pooping’, she responded.
‘Who is pooping?’
Polite but never dishonest. The world should aspire to be more like you, Vic.



hoorayI arrived in Portland three days before the wedding and was reunited with Devin, friends, and my family who battled the harsh bureaucracy of that cruel border just to say ‘I love you’ in person. That sounds melodramatic, but my little cousins’ visas weren’t delivered until a day after their flight left. The grown-ups in my family came together and bought them new (last-minute, very expensive) tickets. Then, they had to figure out how to get them to the airport and convince the authorities that they had permission to fly without their parents. I should mention that this was their first time traveling by themselves. Just to say ‘I love you’ in person.

The day before the wedding, we took thirty of our friends and family to a little island where we picked berries and flowers for the party. We picked so many, in fact, that we set a record on the farm for most berries picked, and Devin’s parents had to figure out how to get them to their house in Wisconsin so they wouldn’t go to waste!



Devin and I got married on a sunny day. He looked sooo good. Neither of us really remembers the feminist ceremony we planned for months. We do remember the flowers lovingly arranged by our cousins and friends, the surprise ice cream we received in the park while playing lawn games, and dancing to the sounds of seventeen musicians with my cousin Caren on vocals.




After celebrating from noon to midnight, we stayed at a hotel that I’m pretty sure I imagined and willed into being. The building’s architectural details have been preserved for a hundred years; it was decorated with Old Hollywood film stills; and when we asked for ketchup the next morning, they sent us a whole bowl.


We took a train along the Pacific Coast, basking in the beauty of the scenery, white-tablecloth dinners, and a freshly-made bed every night. This would have been a great honeymoon, but we were even luckier, spending a week at a veritable oasis in the Sonora Desert. Though I’m from Northern Mexico, I’d never been to a beach in my region, and it was incredible to swim in the ocean and emerge in a place so similar to my hometown. Devin and I spent our days swimming and snorkeling. We ate fresh fruit with chamoy in a hollowed coconut. At night we danced and learned about Puerto Peñasco from friends we made who live there. On our last day, they led us on an epic scavenger hunt to get souvenirs for our families and eat all my favorite snacks one last time before heading back to the States for a tornaboda on Devin’s family farm!

Where Devin’s from they’re into potlucks, so we asked everyone to bring a pie. In all, our friends brought 20 different pies! I tried in vain to taste them all; Devin succeeded.

We ended the night, and our summer, with a big bonfire and camping on a cold night in our cozy new sleeping bag for two.


2013 in Review: Part One

In 2013, I took very few pictures and wrote even less, but it was such a great year that I decided to do a year-in-review post anyway.  Once I got started, I realized I had a lot to say about it, so I decided to break it up into three posts. This is the first.

I’d love to hear about your highlights from 2013 and see your end-of-year blog posts if you have any!


At the beginning of the year, I got my first full-time job in an office with a view of the whole city and moved in with my childhood friend Marissa. We hadn’t really hung out since doing our First Communion in 1998! Reconnecting with her has been really rad. My life and paychecks were finally stable enough to join a Community-Supported Agriculture program, start going to the YMCA, and grocery shop without looking at prices (as much). New York had its first big snow since I moved here! I felt absolutely rich.

I fell in love with Brooklyn in the spring, taking pictures of all the flowers, exploring fancy neighborhoods and noticing little distinctions, like the statues of Jesus in Boerum Hill and the large francophone population in Cobble Hill. At a fancy event, I saw Gloria Steinem in real life, and she let me take a picture with her!

I started trying on dresses for my wedding with help from Tasha who was the best fashion consultant and friend, schlepping all over and giving me sound advice. When I was on the brink of spending all the money Devin and I had on a big organza number from the ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ store, she reminded me to ‘say nice to the price’, and just like that shopping was fun again. I’d always dreamt of getting married in blue, but all the blue gowns in the city looked like something Cinderella’s step-sisters would wear so the search continued.

My cousin Vanessa threw me a tea party wedding shower, and Devin graduated from with a Master’s in Environmental Something-or-Other ; ) In his program, it’s a tradition to decorate your graduation cap, and he decorated it with a bird’s-eye view of his family farm complete with a replica of their tractor. He also put a gavel on it because he studied environmental laws and policies.

2013 in Review: Part One

2012 in Review













My favorite posts of the year:
Funny thoughts on feminism
Devin’s first milkshake review
Homes of Portland

I hereby declare 2012, also known as My Year of Instagram, over for time and all eternity!


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.

2011 in review