Snowzilla, from DuPont

The snow came and went, and our apartment survived. Luckily, the power never went out; the weekend could have been a lot worse if we hadn't had heat or television.

I've been thinking a lot about people who don't have warm homes or stocked refrigerators to rely on when blizzards hit. Our upstairs neighbors invited our apartment over for warm cider last night, and it was an eye-opener to the kind of wealth that exists here. Their apartment was beautiful, a classic rowhouse combo of sparkling-new appliances and old-school brick walls. We ate apples, cheese and crackers around a rough-hewn wooden table covered with candles in old jars while talking about "how much better the neighborhood had gotten." I felt disjointed from the conversation. From what I've gathered since I've been here, DuPont has undergone a lot of gentrification --not a new concept for a Bernal Heights San Franciscan. 

When I asked them why they thought the neighborhood has changed so much over the past several years, they said it's probably due to the changes in how D.C. policed its drug problem. I nodded and changed the subject.

Cities fascinate me. They don't follow one specific script of change; places gentrify or become poorer for scores of different reasons. So while I think that housing policy probably accounts for more of the city's gentrification than my neighbors believe, D.C. isn't San Francisco. Techies aren't the scapegoated group here. So what is?

Time to do some research, I guess.

No Use Crying Over Masa Preparada

No Use Crying Over Masa Preparada

My little brother and I are obsessed with food. I do not use the word “obsessed” lightly. We both get excited about a good loaf of bread. We love exploring farmers’ markets and mercados and the frozen food aisle of Trader Joe’s. Sometimes, in our downtime, we flip through Rick Bayless’ cookbooks of Mexican recipes to find things we could make ourselves. 

Fittingly, we decided to actually make some of the recipes we’d drooled over and cook a big dinner for our parents. We agonized over the menu for days, finally settling on marinated skirt steak, jicama and avocado salad, roasted bell peppers and onions, corn tomalito, and homemade salsa. And the crowning jewel: homemade tortillas, soft and warm and perfectly textured, just like the ones my father grew up eating in El Salvador.

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On Makeup and Authenticity

On Makeup and Authenticity

Last week, I photographed my friends Sara and Tatiana going through the steps of their makeup routine, and documented each step.

I’m not going to even pretend that I understood the intricacies of what they were doing. All that I knew was that, by the time they were done, they’d used a host of products (19 for Sara), each with a very specific function. The three of us have been friends since our freshman year of high school, yet I’d never witnessed this ritual of theirs. They came to school every day with poreless skin and well-defined cheekbones, but I never gave it much of a thought.

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Becoming Fridíta

Becoming Fridíta

The first time I felt Latina was in sixth grade. It didn’t happen when my dad would make Salvadoran rice and beans or pan con chumpe or the chicken soup my abuelita used to make. It didn’t happen when I sang Caballito Blanco at our school’s multicultural day, when I wore my El Salvador shirt and the necklaces my dad had brought back for me during his last visit. It didn’t even happen when I went to El Salvador with my family the summer after fifth grade. 

It was when my sixth-grade seat partner told me that he was going to buy me a razor for my birthday so I’d be able to shave my upper lip.

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