Friday, December 30, 2011

apologies from manchester.

So, I am very sorry I have been MIA this week, but I have been hanging out with my boyfriend in Manchester, New Hampshire. It's been a blast, and I will soon post lots of fun updates about Christmas, New Year's, getaways and life happenings. Auld lang syne!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

recipes: peach salsa

This past week I went to a speech and debate holiday party with all of my students and the other coaches. It was snowing like crazy outside, but a ton of people ending up making it to a really entertaining party. Everyone brought a dish and a gift for a round of white elephant. But to the main event, the food. Instead of dividing up the appetizers, entrees, and desserts by last name, as is usually done with potluck-type events, we did it by debate/speech event. So the LDers and Policy kids (if you did debate, you'll know what this means), and their coach (me) brought in appetizers. I really wanted to try something different and fun, so I looked around for some new recipes. I found this great peach salsa on Big Girls Small Kitchen. It is such a fun and different recipe that you can make to your own tastes, prepare super fast, and it's a nice way to spice up a chilly winter party. The citrusy-sweet-spicy taste really makes this recipe stand out.

Mint and Cilantro Peach Salsa
adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen
Makes 4 cups, or 1 large bowl 

4 cups of peeled peaches, in a quarter inch dice (I threw in some canned peaches to make up the difference since there are not a ton of good peaches around here this time of year)
3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons of chopped mint leaves 
juice of 1 lemon
a sprinkling (or a handful) of red chili flakes (vary amount depending upon how spicy you want it)
3 tablespoons of sugar
additional sugar to taste


1. Dice your peaches. Pretty self-explanatory. Also, the most laborious part of this recipe. Put them in a bowl!

2. Chop cilantro and mint leaves into a half-inch dice and add on top of peaches in bowl. 

3. Add the juice of the whole lemon. I squeezed it right in the bowl. Just make sure you don't get the seeds in the bowl. Ew!

4. Add the red chili flakes. A little bit does really go a long way, so add sparingly. Being a spicy food  addict, I put in quite a bit, but even a pinch adds a lot of flavor. 

5. Put in a little sweetness. You can add more later on if you would like it a little sweeter. 

6. Stir! And you're done! I would recommend tasting a bit so you can add more sugar or chili flakes to adjust. 

I think this will be a favorite at parties, as well as a great side to fish, tacos, or Tex-Mex dishes. I like to think my debaters enjoyed it, or at least they told me it was so that I wouldn't make them read awful articles on philosophy. By the end of the evening, I was also the proud owner of Mensa Mind Bender cards from the white elephant gift exchange. Now I can entertain myself and my cats over winter break!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

new mexico girl problems.

I'm sure many of you have heard of blogs like White Girl Problems and Betches Love This, which chronicle problems that fall upon certain sectors of the female population. However, I would like to turn to conundrums which affect another segment of the population: girls that live in New Mexico. New Mexico girl problems include things like excessively dry skin, an inability to dress oneself appropriately for the weather, and an always unsatisfied craving for Frontier tortillas. I've gone about trying to remedy these problems in various ways.

Lots of snow. 

Well first, there is no really beating the dry skin that always comes with New Mexico altitude. Yes, it is 6,000 feet where I live, and yes, that means VERY dry skin. Not much you can do about that but haul around a Costco-size bottle of moisturizer. My inability to dress myself appropriately for the weather followed me to college in Maine, and back home again. I always wear too much or too little, which results in many complaints about temperature wherever I am. Lesson? Layer and pray for no drastic temperature changes. Although my prayers lately have been washed away with all the wind here, so I must tread through ankle deep snow, all the while freezing my skinny ankles off,  because of my inability to currently wear anything but sneakers (so boots are out of the question). And as for the tortillas, I can't eat them because of the whole Celiac thing, but I can obsessively give them as Christmas presents and force their goodness upon people. However, my favorite remedy thus far is as follows: buying a purple puffy vest from Target for dogs and putting the chihuahua and one cat in it (neither of them really liked it):

Terfle and Coco and the evil purple puffy vest. 

Coco modeling. 

I hope you find similar levels of hilarity in your own snow or sun-filled lives. I, in the meantime, will be praying for summer and layering to stave off the miserable New Mexico weather. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

accesorizing sneakers.

As I've mentioned, I have patellar tendonitis so I cannot run for around six weeks. It has also severely limited my footwear to sneakers. Now I wish I was really hip and had a whole plethora of sneakers that I matched with really trendy outfits, but that is hardly the case.

The always cool Dunks, in my office, which I share with two cardboard cutouts of men and three other students. 

My wonderful, trusty running shoes, which have seen no action lately. 

What does one wear with these? Well, for me, this means spandex and workout shirts because that's really the only thing I want to wear in the winter. Voraciously accessorizing those outfits with tons of jewelry might work with boots to make you look really cool and artsy, but with sneakers all the jewelry makes you look like one of the crazy ladies at the gym who wears more bling than a Cartier shop. However, that is not really appropriate for museum work. So, more than a blog discussing my fashion-sense, this is a cry for help. Somebody, please tell me what to wear for the next 5.5 weeks of my life so I don't look like a really colorful gym rat. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

crazy love.

Somedays, you need that little bit of cheering up. In 24 hours, I had been diagnosed with patellar tendonitis and banned from setting foot near a trail, treadmill, or anything that would allow me to run; I had cried at several ASPCA commercials; and, my favorite bar food had made me deathly ill. However, that all changed when I got the link to "Crazy Love" by Van Morrison, with a message saying it reminded him of me. And, it made my week. Sometimes, it's the smallest things that make you the happiest and remind you of how lucky you are, patellar tendonitis and all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

intentions and telenovelas.

Every year after my finals, since eighth grade, I have fallen into the same routine after my finals, with no variance through the years. This includes:
1. Eating. Mainly any carbs I can get my hands on, which in traditional New Mexican fashion, includes chips and salsa. Lots of them.
2. Sleeping. Lots of sleeping.
3. TV. Just really trashy shows, like Kourtney and Kim Take New York. Judge me all you want, at least I admit to watching it.
This pattern continues until second semester, when I show up back to classes sluggish, unmotivated, and craving spicy food. However, this year I'm going to change that.

While I will allow plenty of time for the aforementioned activities, I would really like to accomplish a few more before spring semester starts. 
1. Finish Anna Karenina. And make significant progress on 100 Years of Solitude. In español.
2. Go to the place where they make maple syrup with my honeybuns. I'm finally making the New Hampshire boy take me to the place where my dreams come true. 
3. Organize my papers/books/folders from years past and finally THROW SOMETHING AWAY. 
Although I realize that some things may get in the way, especially Hulu Latino which lets me watch my telenovelas online (I'm actually serious), I'm going to make a real effort to change my lazy winter break habits and to something productive, so come January I'm awake, alive, and slightly accomplished. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

traveling for food.

When I was little I would spend hours making up fantasy trips. I would spare no expense in my imaginary trips to Antarctica, Belize, Egypt, and everywhere in between. While I'm still lusting after many of these trips, I've recently had to face the fact that the majority of them are outside of my graduate student budget, which I and other students will tell you, is not very large. So for now, I must limit my actual trips to driving to artsy Santa Fe with friends to shop for cheap turquoise and visiting my awesome boyfriend in New Hampshire. While I love these trips, I really do, I sometimes crave something a little more exotic. That's where my newfound obsession with finding local, authentic fare comes in. Lately, Albuquerque has been getting a bunch of restaurants that while small on size, are big on really awesome food from all over the world. My latest exploration took to Street Food Asia, a restaurant near the university. I'd heard some really great things, so yesterday I wandered over to try it out. Wow. That's really all I have to say.


I don't actually remember the name of what I ordered, and it's not on their online menu, but it's basically crunchy rice noodles with loads of fresh portabella mushrooms, bok choy, red bell peppers and cilantro on top. One of my missions over winter break will be to recreate this pile of deliciousness so I can eat it at my leisure. And I hope this is just one of many "traveling" adventures I have over the next few months. But what are some other ideas to get out of the grind and experience something new when you can afford a plan ticket to Asia? Hmmm? 

Monday, December 12, 2011

why cats have it right.

My cat Bojangles spends hours, no, days, staring out windows trying to get birds. Although there is always a panel of glass to stop her, she never stops going after robins, sparrows, swallows, and various other avian friends. This made me wonder, why do we stop going after our goals? 

Bojangles on her mission to catch a bird. 

I always loved art history. Ever since my junior year high school Spanish class during a unit on Spanish and Latin American art, I felt that I had found a true passion. Then came college. While I desperately wanted to take an art history class, they fell behind more "useful" classes like chemistry, calculus, Spanish and philosophy. I told myself that art history would not be a good major because it didn't offer many job possibilities or future prospects, but I couldn't help but be a little jealous when my art history major friends would come back talking about their classes and professors. I would just sigh and think, "I wish I was there," as I turned back to continue reading Don Quijote. Don't get me wrong, I love my major subjects as much as I love art history, but I still wanted to study philosophy and Spanish while learning more about Baroque Biblical scenes and Egyptian hieroglyphics. I happily went through learning about Kant and Borges, but it took a trip to a museum in Buenos Aires to push me towards what I wanted to do. I love Frida Kahlo, and after seeing my very first piece of hers, I knew I wanted to spend my life surrounded by art, namely Latin American art. Fast forward a year and some change, and I am lucky enough to be a graduate student in Latin American Art History. No, it was not easy to get here, and I had to make some changes in my life (like moving back home) and spending habits, but I couldn't be happier. I'm not completely sure what I'll be doing with this degree when I graduate, but following my passion for this study has made me a much happier and fulfilled person. Like my cat at the window, I had obstacles, but like Bojangles I learned that I need to ignore the glass and keep going after birds to get where I want to be. I know I'll look back to my experience in the future to always remember to keep going - even if you have a giant window in your way. A very good lesson from such a small animal.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

pilates is good for you? ummm, ok.

I've been very dedicated to yoga for almost four years now and I can hardly go two days without spending some time in downward dog and various other awkward positions. I am obsessed with a certain studio and certain teachers at that studio, and I do not care much to change my routine. That is, until, one of the teachers suggested I try a Pilates class because she said, "I think it will be good for you. You can't spend your whole life doing yoga and running!" While I disagree with the last part, I took the first sentence of these sage words of wisdom to heart and went to a Pilates class this weekend. I showed up at 10 am on a Saturday morning, yoga mat in hand, ready to conquer a new activity. Conquer it, I did not.

I have several problems that prevent me from doing Pilates properly. I am not in touch enough with my "arm bones" to move them properly and I have an excessively tight rib cage. How to fix either of those things, I am not sure, but I was dealing with bigger problems than those. In Pilates, you often curve your back for certain moves. This is very confusing to me because god forbid you not have a straight back in yoga, and my mother had been yelling at me for years to stand up straight. I wasn't really sure what I was doing during "back curving" exercises, so I'm pretty sure I just looked like a turtle stuck upside-down in its shell. I also gained several new injuries for myself during this class. I now have a bruised shoulder, a broken toe, a pulled hip flexor, and a highly damaged ego, all from this class. While I did learn several things, I'm uncertain if this is something I should try again. Do I just have to learn the moves and lingo, like I did with yoga, or am I destined to be a committed yogi for life?

winter run playlist.

For me, the change of seasons necessitates a change in music. Winter always draws me towards haunting melodies that have a slightly sad bent. To balance that out, I always like to add in some Christmas cheer and classic old-timey tunes. When I'm thinking of making playlists to run I like to think of songs that will keep me going,  keep me in a positive mind so I can finish my runs on a strong note, and remind me of winter and the snow around me. This is one of my winter running playlists that I've been jamming out to. Run, relax, and enjoy:

"Minnesota, WI" by Bon Iver
This is a beautifully composed song that gets you in the perfect mood for a winter run. This is also absolutely fitting since Bon Iver apparently took their name from the French phase bon hiver, meaning "have a good winter." 

"A Foggy Day (In London Town)" by Tony Bennett
A better song for cloudy weather? I think not. And the voice of Mr. Bennett can only make things smoother. 

"Set the Dark on Fire" by Turin Brakes
This duo brings a fast melody to beautiful lyrics which makes you want to run faster. Besides that, this song is nostalgic of winters and loves past, a perfect song to reflect to on your run.

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by Michael Bublé
An upbeat melody that makes you feel like doing high kicks with the rockettes. Or just picking up your pace, either one works. 

"Something About Us" by Daft Punk
This song absolutely reminds me of doing homework in the campus coffee shop during sophomore year at college. It adds a great techno beat to your run and gives you an opportunity to do a nice pickup.

"Come Away With Me" by Norah Jones
After the previous pickup you can slow down a little bit with this lovely, happy song from the inimitable Norah Jones.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by She & Him 
An uptempo version of a great Christmas classic by Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward to get you in the mood for wrapping presents and online shopping after your run.

"White Blank Page" by Mumford and Sons
Another wonderful, haunting melody from a folk group. This fierce song will get you through the tough part of the run.

"Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!" by Frank Sinatra
Anything better than Old Blue Eyes? I think not. Anything better than snow for a winter run? Never! This duo is the perfect, upbeat song for your run among a bleakish winter landscape.

"Sweeter" by Gavin DeGraw
FYI, I love Gavin DeGraw and have for years. I think this a great song to start off the last part of your run.

"20 Years" by the Civil Wars
This male/female duo composes beautiful music with even more beautiful harmonies. This song is a great example to put in the playlist and makes you want to warm up with hot chocolate after your run.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" by Glee Cast
This is my all-time favorite version of my all-time favorite holiday song. Perfect sweetness to end your run. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

why ballet flats are (almost) always appropriate.

When I went to college in Maine, everyone assumed that New Mexico was a place of endless warmth and sunshine. Apparently, I also picked up this assumption during my years in Maine and South America. I received a very rude surprise this past Monday when I woke up to winds of 50 mph and several inches of snow. Well, I was very happy because this meant a snow day for my school (Snow days in grad school! Who knew?) and a day of having the house to myself, the dogs, and the cats, so that I could indulge in reruns of Sex and the City and How I Met Your Mother. However, I was quite upset in other ways. First of all, it ruined my morning run, which I consider sacred and my time to sort out my thoughts. Second, but most importantly, it impeded my ability to wear ballet flats.

                                                           My loves.

I think ballet flats are really great for all women for several reasons. For students of all ages, they are really comfy, which is important when you're walking everywhere around campus! I think even with jeans and a t-shirt they add a little something chic to the mix. Now that I've started working (a lot!) I find them so great to run around in, at both of my jobs. I made the mistake of wearing heels on a business trip to Dallas one day, and since then I have told myself that flats will forever be the way to go. Nothing like humidity, sweaty feet, and blisters to make you crave a pair of flat shoes. So this leads me to my present conundrum. The snow from the Monday storm has stayed, and unfortunately snow and flats do not mix. At all. I already tried and found myself scooping snow out of my shoes. This is one time I should have listened to my mother and just worn socks and actual shoes, that ya know, covered my feet. So for the past few days I have resorted to trusty wellington and cowboy boots, the whole time suffering a severe longing to stretch my feet and scratch that itch that you always get on the bottom of your foot when you wear boots.  Hopefully, tomorrow, I can return to wearing my beloved flats. For now, I leave you with a picture of the beautiful, snowy Sandias, which are making me wear many-a-pair of boots.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

i should have been born a disney princess.

I recently rediscovered many of my favorite childhood movies when I was cleaning out my room at home, including, but not limited to: Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Pocahontas. I would watch these movies nonstop when I was younger, for many a good reason, and I doubt I was the only Disney-princess wannabe small girl. Here are the reasons I think I would be an amazing candidate for the next Disney princess:


 1. I constantly sing to animals.
 I live with four animals - two dogs and two cats, and a bevy of wildlife outside. It is the mountains, after all. I sing songs to all of them. Some are made up, some are legitimate. Just today everyone heard a stirring country rendition of "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.

2. I can rock a pink dress.
 Ask my better half. He's been shopping with me (thanks babe!). I drool over many a pink dress and own several. In all honesty, I think that pink dresses are super-flattering on every skin tone, and as long as they're not too frilly, can really stand out (in a good way) in a crowd. And aren't princesses supposed to be the center of attention?

 3. I'm really klutzy.
 I'm that person that tripped at high school and college graduation and ripped my tassel off both times. My mother has also forbidden me from wearing heels in the fear that I might break an ankle. And if we all look back to Mulan, she was a klutz, and that oftentimes got her in trouble (like with that matchmaker). However, she also saved China and got a really cute guy. Thus, my klutziness makes me endearing and enables me to save countries.

 4. I can dance. No, really.
 I did take several years of ballet/jazz/you-name-it and fell into tango when I was living in Argentina. Despite the aforementioned klutziness, I can still lindy-hop, west coast swing, and put on a good ballroom. I would be in fact, very qualified, to perform the dramatic dance at the end of Beauty and the Beast.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

the allergic life and dinner parties.

Several months ago I was walloped with a plethora of diseases and allergies that have made me the snobbiest Starbucks orderer ever (I'll have a soy half-caf no whip skinny vanilla latte. Thank you. You're so kind.) and also a highly difficult dinner party guest. I've been invited to eat at several friends' houses and at the sweetheart's parents' house, and had the joy of explaining my no gluten/dairy/high fat/tree nut/shellfish diet. In this conundrum, what does one do? Do you call ahead with a menu or just not eat? Well, I have some solutions! Whether you have gluten intolerance, or prefer not to eat meat, I have some ways to dine at others' homes with grace.

How does one be a courteous dinner party guest? First of all, RSVP! Whether its a buffet or a sit-down dinner, a proper RSVP is always in good taste. These two different dinner party types offer different solutions on what to do. If it's a buffet, I usually don't worry. There's almost always vegetables or meat skewers of some kind to fill you up. However, sit-down dinners pose the real threat. Assuming it's plated, I almost always feel an obligation to clear my plate (thanks for teaching me that one, Grandma). What I would definitely not do is call ahead and give a list of things you cannot eat. That's just overbearing. If it's a close friend or family, they are likely aware of your conditions/preferences, so you need not worry because they will probably cook something that all can enjoy. However, if you're headed to the house of a new acquaintance with a friend, or to your new significant other's parents' house, ask your contact to put in a word for you with your host about your dietary restrictions. A last solution is to offer to bring a dish or a plate. No one ever said it couldn't be allergen free! Some of my favorite websites for allergen-free yet tasty dishes are: (you can search by things you can't eat or by main ingredients),, and There are so many ways to both enjoy dinners at friends' houses (whether you want to be there or not) and still get enough to eat. And if you don't, you can always eat a PB&J at home. Gluten-free of course.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

i push books.

I really like books. Not just reading them, but they way they smell, feel, and the atmosphere they put in a room. Just ask my poor mother who has been dealing with my enormous book collection for years now. Books add something to my life in a way I just can't explain; they make me happy, nostalgic, and hopeful at the same time, and they have for as long as I can remember. For this reason, I push books. Some people may push drugs, alcohol, but I highly encourage the ingestion of books.

El Ateneo bookstore in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2010.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Kindle, MacBook, and iPhone as much as the next modern twenty-something girl, but I think it is important to not let the role of the book fall by the wayside. Books hold so much - history, adventure, knowledge - and when we forget that we lose something. There are some books that you won't find digitally - and these are the books we cannot forget. Remember your favorite book that your mom read to you when you were little? Would it have been the same on an iPad? I think you can safely say no. There are also so many amazing books that tell you about culture - pick up an Emily Post book from the 1940s. I mean, isn't it cool? You can see how your grandparents thought and what they learned. In the same way your kids will pick up Harry Potter and learn something about you, you can learn something from an old book. Now you should take this with a grain of salt. I do (gladly) get paid to work in a library. This is actually the fourth library and/or archives I have worked in during my life. I mean, I was such a nerd that the summer after 6th grade I spent time volunteering at a library. But, I love them because they have books, which for me are really a portal to experience something different outside my hectic life. So the next time you read something online or on a Kindle, or hell, even on this blog, take a moment to remember what inspired writers for centuries, and what still inspires me, and perhaps you, today.

welcome home.

When I decided that I was moving back home to do my master's, and I began searching for a place to live: I always seemed to run into one of two problems. First, apartments were completely out of my means, even if they weren't that nice. Second, the apartments that I could afford looked like they had been used to film a meth scene in Breaking Bad. So that left me with the inevitable conclusion of moving back home. While this came with many perks; mainly food, air conditioning, and dogs; I started to suffer a sort of identity crisis. How was I supposed to create my own life if I was stuck living in the house in which I grew up (although it is pretty hard to argue with this backyard view)?

However, I eventually realized after a little soul searching and some glasses of wine and crying on Skype to my boyfriend that I can define myself in other ways. In fact, most of my life was outside my house. In fact, I really only slept there and got sub-par morning coffee (sorry, Dad). I have friends, a really great job, and lo and behold an actual life beyond 1550 Eagle Ridge. There are a million other ways in which I could build my own proverbial nest. So, no matter where you are; whether it's living at home, living in a tiny apartment and hating your roommate, or in an awesome flat in London; follow me on my journey to create my own life and read about many klutzy adventures and fabulous insights to come. Welcome home, wherever you are.