Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Holy smokes! Y'all, I am a COLLEGE GRADUATE! That's right, I am educated and I guess that means I'm officially an adult. Or something. I earned my B.A. from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, which as most of you know, means that I made up my own major, which sounds like an easy program, but it's very rigorous and painfully academic and blah blah blah. My concentration was (is?) Authorship & Identity, with a minor in Creative Writing. So there you go.

The best part about graduation was that my family got to come to the city! My mom, Buddy, my dad, my grandmother (aka Mimi), and my brother Matt all descended upon the city for the event. It was great to have everyone there! Matt compared them to the Clampetts, which wasn't entirely inaccurate ;)

Enough blabbering, have some pictures!

Buddy, my mom, Matt, and me in Times Square! It was Buddy's first time in the big city.
Eliana and I before going to our separate graduations! (Mine being Gallatin, hers being College of Arts and Science)
Me & Kiara pre-Gallatin graduation

Boris & me
My mom and I trying not to cry as I put on my graduation regalia before Gallatin graduation at Lincoln Center

I thought my family was sitting on the other side of the auditorium, meaning they wouldn't get to see me march in, but then I spotted them as I marched in! I was so happy! This is one of my favorites.

Love this picture of Mimi & me.

My two dads

Where my ladies at?

Keepin' it classy at Lincoln Center. Typical.

All-NYU graduation at Yankee Stadium. This is the view from where my family was sitting.
My view. Much closer to the field than my family's!

Headless officers

Loved Hanna's cap decorations. Watch out for bats and/or balls.

Me & Matt & my Gallatin noodle. Every school gets a little thing to wave around. Gallatin's is obviously the best.

So what's next for this Little Bitty, you ask? Well, I won't really be little bitty in the city anymore. I'll be little bitty in ATX! That's right, I'm moving to Austin, Texas, the greatest city in the world (yup, I said it). I'll be working as a reading tutor through AmeriCorps! I'm so excited to move to Austin and eat breakfast tacos every day (among other things, like helping kids and stuff).

I'm quite sad to leave New York, though. When I was living in the city, I said that my heart was always in Texas. But now, a part of my heart will always be in New York. I changed so much during my time there and learned so much about myself. New York made me strong, made me passionate, made me independent. New York kicked my ass for a while, but I persevered and proceeded to kick New York's ass. As I rode in the cab to the airport, I saw that beautiful Manhattan skyline and began to cry. New York is a city that means so much to me--it means growing up, it means terrible times and glorious times, it means fulfilling my dreams. And now that I've made it there, I can make it anywhere! I love you, New York. Always. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

That Time I Met Lemony Snicket

New York is full of famous people. I've seen Adam Scott (I freaked him out with my intense eye contact), Sarah Jessica Parker (flanked by paparazzi), Alec Baldwin (walking a tiny dog), Amy Sedaris (looking like Jerri Blank), Hoda Kotb (very tall), Martha Stewart (also very tall), Rashida Jones (gorgeous obviously) and Ryan Gosling (I was rendered speechless), among others. But those are just celebrity sightings, but I rarely actually meet celebrities. However, I recently met my hero, Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler). As in, I had a conversation with him.

You may be saying, "Kirsten, authors aren't actually celebrities." To which I say, I DON'T CARE GO AWAY THIS IS MY BLOG. Reading Daniel Handler's (which is Lemony Snicket's real name and the name under which he writes adult and YA novels) The Basic Eight at age 14 or 15 was one of the first "adult" (i.e. non-YA) books I ever read, and I was enchanted with Mr. Handler's prose. I realized that people could do really cool things with words, and I wanted in. It was reading his tightly constructed, weird, clever prose that made me want to become a writer. I've been wanting to meet him for ages, but every time he's been in New York, I've either not known about it, or I've been in the wrong place. It was like I was cursed. Until a fateful day a couple of weeks ago.

My good friend Megan forwarded an e-mail from PowerHouse Arena (a weirdly-named bookstore in Brooklyn; doesn't it sound like it should be a venue for wrestling?) and said, "Just wanted to make sure you knew Lemony Snicket was in town." She knows me all too well. They were having a reading that day for his new children's book, The Dark. So I rearranged my plans and went to meet my hero.

He read from his book, did lots of funny things with the illustrator Jon Klassen, and delighted me to no end. It was the most surreal experience to be in the same room as the man who I have idolized for so long.

And then I met him. I was too nervous to get a picture with him, but we did have a nice exchange:
Me: Hi, it's so nice to meet you.
Lemony Snicket: (pointing to a mermaid keychain on my backpack) Have you killed a tiny mermaid and affixed her to your bag?
Me: (giggling nervously) Oh, uh, no. I do have a 13 Words pin though! (13 Words is another of his children's books)
LS: (pointing to my Lego Hagrid keychain) And who is this, Moses?
Me: (still giggling) It's Hagrid.
LS: (laughs) Oh, right.
Me: I just wanted to say that your books are the reason I want to become a writer.
LS: Oh, I'm so sorry. You could have been an investment banker or something.
Me: (laughing) Oh, well, I guess it's all your fault then.
LS: Well, that is very kind of you to say.
Me: Thank you! (I run away and immediately vomit. just kidding, I didn't vomit, but I kind of felt like it)

A very embarrassing photo I took of my face right after I saw Lemony Snicket enter the building
The man himself. (Not Lemony Snicket, of course, but his handler, Daniel Handler, as he says)

So there you have it. I met my hero (even though they say not to) and it was pretty great.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In Which I Try to Be Cultured

Long time, no see, little bitties! Sorry about that. I've been very busy! I'm taking advantage of my time left in New York, which is lovely, but the time is positively flying by. Today, on the way home from my weekly 12:00 yoga class with my dear friend Hanna, I got really sad about leaving NYU and New York in about a month! But then I dealt with it like I usually do (i.e. immediately refusing to think about it any more and gobbling up as much chocolate as I could find. [And I went shopping.]).

So I'm a little behind on my posts! However, a while back, I went to the Rubin Museum and decided to document it. I have been trying to see all the NYC museums I haven't already seen before I graduate. And I live closer to the Rubin Museum than I do Trader Joe's, so I figured somewhere close to home was a good place to start.

The Rubin Museum specializes in art from the Himalayas and the surrounding area. There is tons of really old Buddhist art, which was really neat to learn about! I took a Philosophy of Religion class last semester, and we spent part of the course studying Buddhism, so I was excited to put my knowledge to use. It's disrespectful to take photos of the religious imagery, but I did get some pictures of the contemporary art.

So I found myself quite inspired by the Lukhang Murals, which are from a secret temple of Dalai Lamas in Tibet. The actual murals themselves aren't at the Rubin Museum, but they have a room with photographic representations. The colors are so beautiful and the murals so detailed. So I plopped down in the corner of the room and did some ekphrastic writing.
Here is the room I was in. Like I said, it's disrespectful to take photos, but I found this picture online. I was particularly enraptured with the mural on the right side of the photo and underneath it is where I was sitting. 

This was one of my favorite pieces at the Rubin Museum! This artist also has another series of these paintings at the Brooklyn Museum

Love this staircase in the middle of the museum.

Another cool piece from a contemporary artist.
Big gleaming lobby
This shows the date I actually went to the museum. I told you this post was long overdue.

Awkwardly trying to take a picture of myself with my admittance sticker while a security guard lurks nearby, glancing at me with a paradoxical mix of suspicion and apathy
So yeah, that's it for this edition of Kirsten Tries to Get Cultured. I love quiet gray days at museums by myself. 

Friday, March 1, 2013


Y'all. It finally happened. I went to NEW JERSEY.  I don't know why New Yorkers hate on Jersey so much because my experience in Jersey was GREAT! Maybe it's kind of like how I am always hating on Oklahoma. Sibling rivalry.

Two years ago, when I got wind that New Jersey had Dairy Queen, my lil' Texan brain immediately began devising a way to get there. Dairy Queen is the Texas Stop Sign, after all. I owed it to both myself and my home to try out a non-Texan DQ. So finally, a couple of weekends ago, the day before President's Day, my friends Keith (who is from NJ and facilitated the whole trip), Patrick, Hanna, Eliana, Maya, and I all squished into Keith's car and made the trip through the magical tunnel into the world of New Jersey.

Our journey began with a classic New York Sunday brunch at Moonstruck, one of my favorite diners--it's very dependable (i.e. it's always open and I've never had to wait for a table) and they make REALLY good French toast. I will say that we first tried to go to Veselka, but there was a 45-minute wait, so we settled for Moonstruck, and somehow I feel that trying to get a table at Veselka and giving up and going to another diner is part of the quintessential NY brunch experience.

So anyway, after a delightful brunch full of hearty witticisms and inside jokes (and BACON), we made our way to Keith's car and headed for Jersey. I can't tell you how strange it was to be in a car with these people, especially one driven by my friend and not an angry cab driver. This NEVER happens! We don't drive here! It was fantastic, though. As we whizzed through the streets of Manhattan, I said to all the people walking on the sidewalks, "WE'RE IN A CAR, SUCKERS!!!!" ...Yup, I was psyched.

Eliana, Maya, Hanna, and I (the only girl whose name does NOT end in "a") slightly cramped but very excited to be riding in a car.

So we went to see Keith's brother in a play called "Omnivores." We were a few minutes late (Moonstruck couldn't handle the amount of brunch we ordered and therefore took a while to bring it all out), but the play was still really good! And Keith's family was really nice! Being around a family, I have to say, made me a bit homesick. But in a warm, fuzzy way, because I had my friends there, and blah blah blah warm fuzzies get on with it Kirsten.

New Jersey landscape.

Next we headed to Keith's hometown, about an hour from where the play was. Our first stop when we got there... DAIRY QUEEN. NJ DQ and TX DQ are two VERY different enterprises, but both are still respectable. The main similarity is the deliciousness of the treats and the jankiness of the building (and I say that with fondness...jankiness is part of the DQ experience).

See? Jank but still appetizing.
First of all, you need to know that Dairy Queen is known as the "Texas Stop Sign." Everyone made fun of me when I told them this, but any Texan can verify. Also, I couldn't stop singing "DQ! THAT'S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT TEX-HAAAAS" in my best country-singer voice, and they thought that was made-up, too. So anyway, in Texas, for you poor souls who have never been to a Texas Dairy Queen, we have not only dip cones and blizzards, but also FOOD. Delicious, greasy food. There's the DQ Dude (a chicken fried steak sandwich), jalitos (fried jalapeƱos that you dip in ranch), and of course, your standard chicken finger and/or steak finger basket (are you sensing a theme here? I'll give you a hint: the theme is FRIED. Which is coincidentally the theme to my life.). NJ DQ does not have a food, only ice cream. And it's not so much a restaurant as a roadside stand with benches to sit on. But it's still delicious.

Keith laughing at Eliana & Maya for being foolish enough to get ice cream in freezing weather.

I got a Chocolate Xtreme blizzard, which is my go-to at Dairy Queen. Despite the fact that it was 25 degrees and I couldn't feel my hands by the time we got back in the car, I was positively GIDDY.

A look of pure joy at this delicious frozen treat
Then we hung out at Keith's house and watched Wall-E and played with his ADORABLE DOG and ate pizza and generally had a great time. It was so lovely to get out of the city for a bit and enjoy each other's company in a very different, very spacious setting. I do love New York, but it's nice to be able to see the sky and breathe and remember what nature is. It was the perfect day-before-President's Day getaway!

This picture is somehow so fitting as to each of our personalities.