Sometimes I think my life is funny.

Monday, May 29, 2017

That Time I Held Myself Accountable for Completing My 30 Before 30

In order to ensure I complete my goals on my 30 before 30 list, I have decided to create a blog post where I will give monthly updates on my progress. If you see an area where I am slacking and you have suggestions on what I can do to complete them, feel free to tell me! I'm open to suggestions and help at all times! 

1. Take 30 pictures with 30 giant animals
5/6 – Picture with Spikes from the Red Wings at Clean Sweep after receiving the Silver Sweeper Award from Mayor Warren. 


2. Give 30 $30 tips on bills that are less than $30
5/19 – South Wedge Diner. Our waitress followed us because she thought I forgot my money on the table. When I told her that the money was her tip, she told my nieces “You’re auntie is so nice. You make sure to give her lots of hugs and kisses” to which my nieces responded “Aunt Steph doesn’t like hugs and kisses. We’re not allow to hug of kiss her.”

5/24 – Ice Cream Jubilee. The ice cream server was the nicest, happiest person I have encountered in a very long time. She was super patient with me as I tasted EVERY flavor ice cream in the joint, told me that calories are just “flavor points” – the more calories a food has, the more flavor it has, so I should just be excited about lots of calories, and she even jumped in a selfie with me and Julia. I loved her and she 100% deserved the $30.

Doesn't she just look like the nicest person???
3. Find out if I have abs
Still have not been found.

4. Dress as a cat all day. Go in public.
No progress

5. Go on vacation alone.
I’ve been thinking about where to go, but beyond that, no progress.

6. Karaoke Jagged Edge/Rev Run’s “Let’s Get Married”
I have sang this in the office, rolling through airports, and at nightclubs whenever it comes on, but as for karaoke, not yet.

7. Try 30 different burgers and rate them. Bonus if I can get 30 different people to buy me the burgers.
5 of 30 burgers complete. See Burger Rating System and all rated burgers here. *notes burgers that have bonus points because others bought the burger for me.

4/22 – Lawful Waffle*
4/26 – 6 Buck Chuck*
5/2 – Southern Comfort Burger*
5/14 – Single Cheeseburger*
5/28 – Wall Street Burger

8. Unplug for an entire day.
No progress. But I did go on a women’s retreat with ladies from my church where I looked at my phone a lot less than usual and didn’t watch any T.V. So it was like practicing for the real Unplug day!

9. Give 30 things away.
4/24 – Gave away a book bag filled with stuff to a person on the street.
4/25 – Gave away a bag of clothes to a coworker.
5/7 – Gave away a bag of clothes to our church collection for refugees.
5/21 – Gave another bag of clothes away to our church collection for refugees.

10. Spend a whole weekend with my mom
No progress.

11. Bake something without a mix
No Progress.

12. Pay off 3 big debts
5/1 – (1). Finished paying off my manual wheelchair! I got the chair in October and have been paying off the bill of over $2500 ever since then (that was just my copay…).

13. Do a headstand
No progress. Need more zen. And balance.

14. Keep a plant alive for 6 months.
5/1 - I have begun asking people what kinds of plants can last with minimal care/an irresponsible plant mom. Some ladies on my church retreat suggested I try a spider plant or an air plant. An air plant apparently just lives on air and this sounds very appealing to me. No plant has been adopted yet.

5/7 – Bought a Banzai tree and named him Fernando. I picked him because he looks resilient and hearty. Plus he came with a stone that says peace, so maybe that will help me to find zen. Anyway, so far he hasn’t died. He looks tough and I think he can handle my neglect. 

5/29 – Fernando is still alive.

Fernando going strong. 
15. Build something.
No progress.

16. Go to a bar alone.
5/10 – I tried to semi do this. I was going to meet Katie out, but she had a meeting she needed to go to, so I figured I would go to the bar early and wait for her and that would count as being alone. For about 20 minutes I sat in my car hesitating. Finally, I got out, rolled to the bar, and when I got inside I found out there was a step to get up to the bar. What the fuck. So basically, this has not been accomplished.   

17. Take a class on something creative, like cooking or knitting.
No progress.

18. Learn a new skill and show it off on my 30th Birthday!
No progress.

19. Complete 30 acts of kindness to show my appreciation for others
5/8 – (1). My coworker Mary works ridiculously hard and is a wonderful coworker and friend. I found out she’s been watching Netflix on her tablet because she didn’t know how to make it go to her T.V. I felt that Mary worked way too hard to not be able to go home and binge watch trashy tv on her actual television, so I bought her a Chromecast to show my appreciation for all that she does and to help her relax when she finally does get away from work.

5/10 & 5/11 – (2) & (3). I regularly collaborate with two people in the City of Rochester to help make Rochester a more accessible and welcoming city for disabled people. We always joke that I’m part of the City’s team and that we need matching outfits. To show them how much I appreciate them both as humans and as advocates for the Disability Community within the City’s Administration, I got them both really cute mugs with the Rochester flower that say “Home.” I got myself one too so that we can have matching cups and show we’re all on the same team J Bonus: these babies are made by a crafty lady I go to church with and can be found here
Check out this super cute mug!!

20. Throw a dinner party.
No progress.

21. Go to a country that I’ve never been to.
No progress.

22. Get a facial.
No progress.

23. Learn how to change a tire.
No progress.

24. Buy a crop top. Wear it in public. - MISSION COMPLETED!  

5/17 – After telling some of our ADAPT teens about this goal, one of them gave me a crop top and told me to wear it during our party on our last night in D.C. I hesitantly wore it around the hotel and my ADAPT family. This was a good practice run, but I don’t think it counts as actually wearing it in public.

5/26 – I took the crop top that I borrowed from a teenager to Atlantic City with me. I wore it the first day we were there for the entire evening and night. I strolled along the boardwalk in it, I ate Mexican in it, and I danced at an 80’s club in it. I didn’t feel one bit insecure. I’m really happy I made this a goal and accomplished it so quickly. I thought I would be super insecure about this and look terrible, but I felt great and might even get my own crop top after I return this one to its rightful owner.  

Rockin a crop top. 
25. Cook a meal without a recipe and buy all the ingredients myself.
No progress.

26. Learn to meditate without falling asleep.
No progress.

27. Help someone else check off something on their list.
No progress.

28. Make a list of 1095 things I am grateful for (or 3 things per day for 365 days!).
Lots of Progress!

29. Go on an incredible 30th birthday best friend vacation.
No progress.

30. Throw a fabulous 30th birthday party!
No progress.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

That Time I Realized I’m Not Classy Enough for my Neighborhood

I’ve known for a while now that I’m not a classy lady. I choose burgers over fine dining, I’ll always pick the cheap moscato over your fancy cabernet that came from your wine cellar, and it’s been pointed out on more than one occasion that I swear like a trucker.

Despite this, I thought I could hide my unclassiness and fit into my super cute, clean-cut neighborhood. Now, for the past two years it’s been quite a lot of work to disguise myself as a woman suited for my neighborhood, but I was passing – even if it was just barely.

When I bought my house, my backyard was a damn fairy garden. Juliette, the elderly woman I bought my house from, probably had her own HGTV show based on the looks of my yard. 

Look at this!

I mean, there was literally a bedframe in my backyard filled with flowers and a sign that said “Flower Bed” on it. How fucking adorable is that?


Well, in a year I successfully killed the garden. By the next summer, I turned it into a jungle with all the weeds taking over. But, in an attempt to pass as a classy lady, I hired a sketchy guy and some high school kids to rip the weeds out, so by the end of last summer my yard just looked like patches of grass and dirt and a few dead plants. Sadly, this was an improvement.

Determined to fit in my cutesy neighborhood where couples work on their yards together and wave at each other as we pull in our driveways, this spring I hired a sketchy ass guy off craigslist to turn my patchy yard into a plethora of grass. Nothing fancy. No plants. Just flatten the dirt and make some grass grow. Try not to be shocked when I tell you this: the guy was a total scam artist, made my yard look even worse, and managed to piss of my neighbors.
My yard looks like a balding man now.
Note the lush green grass that all my neighbors have.

On top of all of this, I keep my Christmas lights up until April, I have dinosaurs and a nativity scene in my front yard for Christmas, my cats occasionally escape and cause a neighborhood wide hunt before I find them all safe in my basement ceiling (not a joke, has actually happened twice), and I’m positive my kind neighbors (who bring me cookies, btw) have heard me yell profanities at my cats, tv, appliances, and other inanimate objects more than once.  

First, this looks awesome.
Second, those lights were seriously up until mid april. 

Still, despite all of this, I believed I could keep up my classy lady façade and recover from all these mishaps so I wouldn’t be known as “the girl who brings down the neighborhood.”

But in this past week I hit such an all-time low that there is no recovering.

First, when I came back from a week in D.C. I saw that my lawn had been mowed. I called my brother-in-law to thank him for taking care of my yard but he informed me that my neighbor cut my yard.

Yes, that’s right – I’m such a scummy homeowner that my neighbor felt compelled to cut my yard because it got so bad. I was mortified.

But wait - there’s more.

After apologizing profusely to my neighbor about my yard, sending my thanks to her husband for cutting it, and promising to be a better neighbor, I accidentally solidified myself as the worst person in the neighborhood.

How, you ask? Oh, take a seat and read along my dear friend.

On Sunday I was excited for the warm weather, so like many women in Rochester, I decided to shave my beastly winter legs in order to show off some skin in a few dresses this week. However, I hate shaving because I always miss a spot, so I decided to buy some Veet and spend a few minutes letting who knows how many chemicals burn the hair right out of my skin.

This is not my leg, but imagine this - except 3 times as thick - from ankle to pelvis. 

So here I am, sitting naked in my bathroom, rubbing poison all over my legs and singing along to Prince when suddenly my cat, Rose, decides she needs some attention and RUBS HER BODY AGAINST MY POISONOUS LEGS.

I quickly scream “NOOOOOOOOOO!” and my beautiful gray cat – who is now covered in hair remover – runs away in fear.

Not my best move. Clearly I didn’t think this through.

Visions of my cat losing large chunks of fur are running through my head as I try to figure out how to move with Veet covered legs without touching anything else with my toxic legs. Time is of the essence, so obviously there’s no time to wash off the creamy white toxins.

Then it occurs to me that Rose might try to lick the hair remover off of her, get poisoned, and then die.

My beautiful Rose. 

Now I’m in full cat mom mode, and decide the only thing I can do is attempt to chase my cat, tackle her, and wash the veet off of her. However, remember that not only am I naked, I also can’t run. I can’t even walk. If I said I could hobble, I’m being generous to myself. So the chase was not off to a good start.

After a minute of flailing my body around my house as I stretched my arms and pleaded with my cat to come to me, I decide to throw myself in my power wheelchair and give chase by chair. My other cat, Sophia, thinks we’re having a fun race, and I freak the fuck out thinking she might touch my deadly legs too. I yell at her to get away as I continue to chase Rose through my bedroom, then down the hall, then through my living room, and then, finally my kitchen.

When I got Rose cornered, I leapt out of my wheelchair to tackle her. Let’s all remember now that I’m still naked. Now might also be a good time to tell you I’ve never declawed my cats. You can imagine the screams from both of us.

Even though my cat was clearly trying to kill me and my kitchen looked like a murder scene, I held tight and reached for a kitchen towel to at least wipe her fur. I did the best I could before she escaped my bloody grasp.

This is a pretty accurate representation of what my kitchen looked like. 
At this point, I crawl back to my wheelchair, panting, and attempting to wipe up the trail of Veet behind me so no other cats become hairless or die because of my desire to wear a dress. 

When I finally get up into my chair, I look up and realize my curtains are open and have been open this entire time. 


Because I didn’t actually intend to chase my cat around naked with veet covered legs when I started this adventure.

But my intentions don’t matter.

The big guy with the poodle from a few houses down was right there on the sidewalk in front of my house. And if I saw him, there’s a solid chance he saw me.

Now mind you, this naked lethal cat chasing fiasco lasted a few minutes throughout every room – and every open window- in my house, so I don’t know how many of my other neighbors saw the show and hung their heads in shame.

The only thing I do know is that I am now, without question, the girl who brings down the neighborhood.

I’d like to take a moment to apologize to all of Wembly Road. I’m sorry that my existence brings down the value of your home and the reputation of our community.  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

That Time I Went on Date with a Boring Guy who Didn’t Respect Halloween

In case you’re not caught up and the title of this blog has caught you off guard, here’s a quick recap: Yes, I broke up with my on-again, off-again boyfriend of two years – did you expect anything different? No, you don’t need to tell me you’re sorry. You really don’t need to say anything. We’re both lovely people, and now we’re lovely people who aren’t together, and haven’t been since March. But to keep things nice and messy, we still occasionally go on dates. Because we have no idea what we’re doing or how to be in a healthy relationship. If you’re confused, congratulations, we are too (or at least I am). If you can’t understand how this can happen, then congratulations on your healthy relationships and never experiencing a love life as screwed up as mine, but keep your judgment to yourself. We all know the only reason my blog is worth reading is because I have nothing close to a healthy love life. But I do have cats, so let’s all just count that as a win. Actually, four wins. One win per cat.

Win. Win. Win. Win. 

Anyway, back to the date I went on.

As with all the winners I’ve dated, I found this guy online – thanks OKCupid. We exchanged a total of 4 messages before he asked me on a date and I appreciated both his efficiency and his offer of a cheeseburger, so obviously I said yes.

There were two signs in advance that this wouldn’t work, but I went anyway because he said the magic word: cheeseburger. Anyway, the signs were:

1. His profile lists hiking as his ideal first date. Yes, hiking. If you need a reminder as to why this would not work for me, here’s a quick reminder:

1. I don't walk.
2. I dress far too fabulously for hiking. 

2. In his first message to me he said “I think it’s great you’re fighting for disability rights. I’m hard of hearing myself. Don’t let that discourage you!” Wait, you read the part of my profile that says I live and breathe for disability rights, but you thought I’d be discouraged that you’re hard of hearing? Really? Did you assume I was a hypocrite or what?

Despite this, we made plans to meet for a burger. We made plans a week in advance, and then he didn’t send me a single message. Not even a message confirming that we were still on for the date. Maybe this is normal, but every date I’ve ever went on the guy at least messaged me to confirm our plans a little closer to the date. I even thought he may have forgotten about our plans, but I showed up anyway because I wanted a damn burger. I was half shocked when he was actually there when I showed up 6 minutes late (which is actually basically on time in my mind).

There he was, looking like he just came from a hike (complete with plaid flannel and hiking shoes), and looking dorky as hell. The second part isn’t necessary a bad thing. Dorks run the world. I thought his dorkiness might provide for some stimulating conversation. I was wrong.

From the moment we got to our table, I was bored out of my mind. I mean, this guy was nice, but not at all entertaining. Honestly, I had more of a connection with my waiter who I am pretty sure was 23 and gay. The most stimulating conversations I ended up having were with the waiter who liked to make sassy jokes and was surprised when I played along with his humor. He even helped me solve the crisis of the night: deciding if I wanted endless fries or endless salad with my burger. I explained that I had a made New Year’s Resolution to eat more salad, but I really wanted fries. He told me to stick to my goals and get a salad, and then after he brought me my burger and salad, he brought me out a free side of fries. 

At that point, I started to wonder if I could take “around my age or slightly older” and “likes women” off of my “must have” list for my partner search. In the end, I decided that despite the free fries, I probably should keep those two standards on my list.

Burger & salad prior to the plate of free fries. 

You may have noticed I haven’t talked much about my actual date yet. That’s because I genuinely was so bored that I can’t remember much to tell you about him. I do remember that at one point he told me he couldn’t remember the last time he celebrated Halloween and that he thinks he dressed up as Spock when he did. I was utterly flabbergasted by this statement. He thought my visceral reaction was due to his statement about his Spock costume. He seemed surprised when I went on a 10 minute rant about how Halloween is the greatest holiday of all time, that it is an entire season – not just one day, that nothing could stop me from celebrating Halloween, and how my house gets fully decked out for this glorious holiday.

Please note, last Halloween I was marching all over Massachusetts
with ADAPT to fight for Disability Rights, and even that couldn't stop me
from celebrating Halloween. I protested in a cat onesie & cat earmuffs. 

Maybe I went on for so long because this was the second time in three days that a man dismissed Halloween as a holiday that could go without celebrating (earlier that week my Pastor said that there was “no such thing as Halloween lights” during his sermon and that’s just a ridiculous statement). Whatever. I knew from before the date started that this wasn’t going to be a love connection, but this statement just torched any chance that could have been somewhere in the distance.

No such thing as Halloween lights my ass. 

No love for Halloween? Peace out bro. That’s like saying you don’t like cats. If you don’t like cats then don’t go on a date with me because I am a cat. Seriously. I meow in the halls of my office. I meow to my boss who occasionally understands my meows, and other times is confused by the inflection of my meow and states “I don’t understand what that means.”

I repeat: I am a cat.
Damn. I went off on a tangent and stopped talking about my date again. Well, I suppose that's because there's nothing left to say. Needless to say, we have not scheduled a second date.

Abbreviated version:

I went on a date who thinks “hiking” would be an ideal first date. But since my ideal first date involves cheeseburgers (and, oh yeah, I don’t walk), we did that instead. I had more of a connection with my 23 year old gay waiter than I did with my boring date who had no respect for Halloween. There’s not much else to say because the date was so boring I barely remember it.

Lessons learned:

1. In addition to my requirements on age and liking women, I am adding “must respect Halloween” and “must like cats” to my list of must haves in a future partner.
2. It’s never a good sign when you have more of a connection with your waiter than with your date.
3. Not all dorks can have stimulating conversations. Some are just boring.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

That Time I Turned 29 and Realized I’m Officially a Golden Girl

I started kicking off my 29th birthday on Saturday, April 22nd when my best friend and I spent the night eating burgers and dancing in an inaccessible club with a bunch of Woo Girls and a very bad DJ. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Katie and I started out by going to Blu Wolf Bistro for a delicious birthday burger and I have no regrets about this whatsoever. This was the first of my 30 before 30 burgers. You can read my review of this (and every other burger I try) here.  

Check out this beautiful Birthday Burger!

After burgers, we headed over to Vinyl Nightclub. I chose this one because the reviews said the music could please “women from 20 to 50” and since I regularly feel like a woman from 20 to 50 depending on the day and the amount of coffee in my system, I thought I’d enjoy the vibe there. Bonus: the pictures didn’t show a nightclub with mirrors on every wall, and I’ll be honest, after the trauma of Taylor’s Nightclub, that did play into my decision making. When we arrived I was greeted by a flight of stairs, but it was my damn birthday weekend and stairs weren’t going to stop me! There were security guards to do the lifting, and my chair and I got in just fine.

The first hint that I had that I am old now was that we were the first people there… I mean, minus an awkward bachelorette party that served to remind Katie and me that neither of us are even close to getting married, but this weird girl with  worse dance moves than us was about to tie the knot. But I digress. Anyway, we immediately grabbed some drinks so we’d be ready for our solo act on the dancefloor. I’m pretty sure the DJ just typed “TLC playlist” into Spotify and pressed play, then after 5 songs switched to “Britney Spears playlist.” Whatever, I can dance to all of it. But even better that that – the bathroom attendant could dance all of it too, and so much better than anyone else in the club that entire night. So there we were - me and Katie, alone on the dancefloor - when the DJ switches to the Michael Jackson playlist when the 60+ year old woman who claims she is bathroom attendant, but is obviously a stunt double on Dancing with the Stars, starts moonwalking on the dancefloor and putting us to shame.

No joke, the lady got on her tip toes like it was nothing.

Soon thereafter the music stops and the DJ announces that “something is wrong” and he can’t play music. No, I’m not kidding. The Spotify DJ had ONE job – play music. And he couldn’t even do that. After 20 minutes DJ Spotify gets the music going again and there are some new people on the dancefloor including:

1. Old guy with robotic dance moves
2. Guy with gold chair and sunglasses on the dark dance floor, and
3. Guy in Brockport hoodie who couldn’t understand that invading our space wasn’t cute.

I immediately decided I needed to marry Sunglasses Guy because who doesn’t want to be with that level of douche? Brockport man decided he wanted to marry Katie, but after stepping on her foot, Katie only had unpleasant feelings toward him. He kept trying to get close to her, so we tried to be nice at first and kindly inform him that he wasn't allowed in our dance space. It was very much like Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing explains personal space to Baby

But when he didn't listen to our kind "stay the fuck away" message, we channeled our inner Kelly Clarkons and sent him a stronger message. And by "strong message" I mean I literally drew a line on the dance floor and told him he wasn't allowed to cross it. 

Dancefloor Lesson

Robot Dancer didn’t want anyone – he wanted his beer and his dance moves. Beyond the Robot, Robot Dancer’s repertoire including churning butter, the Egyptian, and what I can only describe as an imitation of the crane in the crane game and never getting the claws on the prize.  Later, Robot Dancer approached me and placed a cold, opened beer in my hand without saying a word. I handed it back to him and he pushed it back to me. I announced “It’s open. I won’t drink this.” He seemed offended, but between the possibility of germs and roofies, I didn’t feel a drop of sadness in rejecting that shit. Needless to say, things didn’t work out between us. However, I did have a moment with Sunglasses Guy during a 90’s song where his dance move included pointing at me and I pointed back at him. We never spoke, but I think this is a good sign that we’ll probably get married.

After that life changing moment with Sunglasses Guy, the Woo Girls came. If you’re not familiar with Woo Girls, please watch this brief tutorial:

The Woo Girls only served to show me how old I truly am and, oddly, make me thank God that I’m not young anymore. For example, Woo Girl 1 approached me by bending down to my level to scream in my face “ARE YOU HERE TO DANCE?!” “Yes, that’s why I’m at a dance club” I tell her. “I JUST CAME HERE TO DANCE!!!!” she informed me. Super. She then proceeded to announce “MY BOYFRIEND IS OUT OF TOWN AND I JUST WANT TO DANCE!” I’m wondering if her boyfriend doesn’t let her dance or if he’s such a bad boyfriend that she celebrates by dancing every time he leaves. I didn’t get to find out because immediately after she announced this, her friend, Woo Girl 2, started screaming in my other ear “OH MY GOD THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG!!!!” as DJ Spotify switched to the Selena Gomez station. Meanwhile, Katie and I were the old ladies complaining that we wanted better music, like Prince or the Backstreet Boys. DJ Spotify did eventually switch to the 90’s station again for a bit, and we danced in our glory, until he switched back to the Woo Girls favorite tracks (aka every overplayed song that exists currently). DJ Spotify continued to play the Woo Girls Greatest Hits, so I checked the time and it was 1 am and I decided that I’m old now and that means I don’t need to stay out until the club closes. I’m not a Woo Girl. If anything, I’m a Golden Girl, and Golden Girls do whatever the fuck they want, including going home before 2 am. So I went home, made some easy mac, and fell asleep on my couch before I finished it. And it felt good. 

I guess that makes me Rose. 

Abbreviated Version:
Katie and I rocked the dance floor at an inaccessible club with the 60 year old bathroom attendant who probably starred in Flash Dance back in the day. Throughout the night we encountered interesting/bad dancers, a man who possibly attempted to roofie me, and Woo Girls who reaffirmed that I am indeed old now. At 1a m I declared myself a Golden Girl and went home, cuz old people who what they want.

Lessons Learned:
1. I’m closer to being a Golden Girl than a Woo Girl. I’m proud of this.
2. The 60 year old bathroom attendant is closer to being a Woo Girl than I am. I am still jealous of her moves.
3. Anyone with Spotify can apparently be a DJ now. I am saddened by this.  

That Time I Tried to Eat 30 Burgers (& Rate Them) before I Turned 30

If you don't already know, in early April I decided that I needed to make and complete a 30 before 30 list in anticipation of my 29th brthday. Goal #7 on my 30 before 30 list is to try and rate 30 different burgers, with an additional bonus goal of trying to get 30 different people to buy me said burgers (because the only thing more delicious than a burger is a free burger).  So far this has been my favorite, and most delicious goal.

I have created a rating system, which I have detailed below. I will continuously update this page as I try more burgers, until I eventually hit 30 (or maybe more??) burgers.

I welcome burger recommendations, as well as burger invitations.

Burger Rating System:

1. Bun & Topping options: 1 – 10
For me, toppings MAKE the burger. I love options. LOTS of options. I also truly appreciate creativity and novelty.

2. Overall Taste: 1 – 10
Considerations for this category include juiciness of the burger, flavor of the meat, and taste of the whole package (burger, toppings, bun) when put together.

3. Value: 1 – 10
Is it a mediocre burger but a good price? Was it outrageously expensive and a meh taste? Value will consider not only the cost, but if the burger was worth the price tag.

4. Atmosphere: 1 – 10
Is it in a cool location? Was the staff especially awesome? Can I dress burger casual while chowing down here? All of these are factors in rating the atmosphere.

5. Burger Bonuses: 1 – 10
In this category, I’ll take into account anything special – were there homemade pickles on the side? Were the side options out of this world? Did it come with glitter and happiness? Because sometimes a burger bonus will really make or break an experience.

Burger 1: Lawful Waffle

              Where: Blu Wolf Bistro – Park Ave, Rochester, NY
              When: April 22, 2017 around 8:30pm
              With: Katie Kamm
              Bonus? YES! She bought the burger for me!

1. Bun & Topping options: 10

Not only was my burger fantastic because it came on a freaking waffle for a bun, but the options for all the other burgers were pretty fabulous too. Katie got the Clyde burger that came with white cheddar, peanut butter, and jalapeños. While that is certainly not my style because I don’t let spicy things near me, that certainly added points here. My burger had some pretty standard toppings: bacon, egg, cheese, and maple glaze (nice touch!). However, did I mention the waffle bun?  10/10.

2. Overall Taste: 8

Everything together tasted great, but because it was on a waffle, it was incredibly difficult to navigate eating this beast. One circular waffle was cut in half to serve as the bun, and because of the nature of the differing shapes of a circle burger on a half circle waffle bun, some of my bites were pure waffle without burger which brought down the score. However, when I did finally get bites in that had the burger, the waffle, and all the toppings, it was a magical experience. 8/10

3. Value: 8

My burger with fries was $16. And yes, I know, Katie bought it for me so it was technically free, but I still care about the value. I would hate for my bestie to spend money on me if it wasn’t worthwhile. So for the overall taste it was great, but $16 great? I’m not so sure. It’s hard for me to justify spending $16 for a burger, but this was pretty good. If I could choose a price for this burger that would make it a 10/10 it would be $14. However, because this burger was a bit more than I think it was worth taste wise, I am scoring it 8/10 in this category.

4. Atmosphere:     4

Blu Wolf Bistro is located on Park Ave, which is a pretty trendy/hipster area in Rochester. But it’s also diverse and just a generally nice area. The restaurant itself had a classed-up feel, and I was glad I was wearing a cute dress instead of jeans and a basic tee, but others were dressed like that and it was fine. What is really bringing down the score is that this restaurant has a one-step entrance making it inaccessible and in violation of the 27 year old Americans with Disabilities Act. I was in my manual, so I was able to pop up the step with some assistance, but I wasn’t happy about it and it really did bring down my impression of this place, especially since - based on the classed-up atmosphere and prices of the burgers – it’s clear the owners could afford to make the one step entrance into a ramp. In fact, I’m going to write the owners about this and hopefully get them to an install a ramp without any pushback on their end. That way I could go back and bring all my crip friends for burgers! (They did have a lovely accessible bathroom though, so adding a ramp is really all they need!)

5. Burger Bonuses: 8.

The fries were curly, but not curly fries. They were thick and delicious. I was rather impressed with them. I also got a blueberry martini that tasted like a pixie stick mixed with a smurf. Both taste and presentation were wonderful.

Overall score: 38. Honestly, if they install a ramp the score will go up significantly because I was really impressed with the burger, toppings, drinks, and everything else. Unfortunately, because they’re not accessible, I can’t recommend this restaurant.

Burger 2: 6 Buck Chuck

              Where: Burger Tap & Shake - Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC 
              When: April 26, 2017 around 8:15pm
              With: Kings Floyd
              Bonus? YES! She bought the burger for me!

1. Bun & Topping options: 5

While there were technically 9 different “burger” options with a variety of different toppings, 5 of these “burgers” were not actually burgers. They were chicken, turkey, and even salmon. How are you call any of these burgers! In general, I feel that 9 options are not enough, especially when many of them include spicy things as toppings, such as jalapeños and chipotle sauce. But then cut my selection to only 4 burgers because 5 of the burgers aren’t even burgers? Come on! I ended up getting the 6 buck chuck, which is the house burger that comes with lettuce, pickles, onion, tomato, and AP Sauce - the house blend of mayo, ketchup, mustard, BBQ and chipotle. 5/10

2. Overall Taste: 6.5

The first few bites of my burger were pretty good, until I hit something spicy, which is when I reread the menu and realized the AP sauce had chipotle in it. My own fault for not reading closer. After that spicy bite, I attempted to continue, but my mouth couldn’t handle the fire. Without the spice, it was a decent burger, so I give it a 6.5/10.

3. Value: 7

It’s called a 6 buck chuck for gosh sake! That’s a value! Even with the bit of spice, it was still a good price. It was cheap enough that I didn’t feel guilty about not finishing it after hitting the spicy spot. But what made it better was the milkshake we got the BTS shake (with butterfinger, twix, and snickers) mixed with a cookie and cream milkshake. It was mind blowing. Altogether, the burger and milkshake put Kings back $12 and she called me a cheap date, so I’d say there’s serious value in that. 7/10.

4. Atmosphere: 7

Burger Tap & Shake is in Foggy Bottom, which is a young area of D.C. filled with a whole bunch of college aged hipsters that like to talk about chai and make their own peanut butter at Whole Foods (not judging, I stuck my finger in one of those machines and it was delicious. Also, I have no shame about my unsanitary approach). The restaurant had a super heavy door to get in, but besides that, accessibility was good. Nothing blew me away about the atmosphere, but nothing turned me off either. 7/10.

5. Burger Bonuses: 8.

I can’t tell you enough about this milkshake. Seriously. It had butterfinger, twix, snickers, AND cookies and cream in it. If you’re in D.C., go get this milkshake. If you’re not, fly to D.C. right now and get this milkshake. Also, the pickles on the burger were abnormally delicious. I mean, I love all pickles, but these tasted especially spectacular. 8/10.  

Overall score: 33.5. The milkshake really did make the experience. Nothing against the burger (I mean, besides the spicy part, I have lots of feelings against that), but I’m still thinking about that milkshake.  

Burger 3: Southern Comfort Burger

 Where: Red Robin – Greece, NY   
              When: May 2, 2017
              With: Boring Guy who Didn’t Respect Halloween
              Bonus? YES!  

1. Bun & Topping options: 7

Red Robin does have quite a selection of burgers and toppings, including the Banzai Burger that comes with a pineapple on it (which is what I usually order). However, I’m not so impressed with the bun selection, since they’re all just basically real types of buns. No donuts, no waffles, no fun weird stuff. Just buns. Instead of my usual Banzai Burger, upon the recommendation of my waiter, I switched it up and went with the Southern Comfort Burger which consisted of a ½ lb. Black Angus patty glazed with brown sugar and topped with candied bacon, honey BBQ sauce, sharp Cheddar, caramelized onions and mayo on a toasted ciabatta bun.  7/10

2. Overall Taste: 7

This burger was tasty, without a doubt. The candied bacon really made me happy and the brown sugar glaze was lovely. I’d have it again for sure, but it didn’t impress me so much that I would talk about it for days (and believe me, I have talked about some burgers for days, and one burger for over a year). 7/10

3. Value: 6

The Southern Comfort Burger comes with a price tag of $13.99 with either endless fries or salad. It was a good burger, but I felt like it was a $10 burger, not a $14 burger. I mean, technically, for me it was a free burger, but you know what I mean. I guess what I’m saying is, I’d eat that burger again as long as I wasn’t paying for it. 6/10.

4. Atmosphere:     4

Let’s all be honest here: there is nothing special about the atmosphere of a Red Robin, especially a Red Robin in a mall. The one thing that Red Robin has that *might* increase the atmosphere for some people (10 and under) is the presence of balloons. However, I’m over the age of 10 and I’m allergic to balloons, so they did not help with the score. I am giving this a 4 instead of a 0 simply because my waiter was funny and kept me entertained during what was otherwise a boring date. 4/10

5. Burger Bonuses:  4

The only bonus during this experience was when I wanted fries, but told the waiter I had a New Year’s Resolution to eat more salad, the waiter told me to get the salad as a side and then brought me free fries. I liked that move a lot. Thus the score increased from 0 to 4. 4/10.

Overall score: 34. I would eat this burger again if someone else was buying, especially if I could get the same fun waiter. Otherwise, there was nothing special to make me eager to return. The leftovers were good though, to be fair.

Burger 4: Single Cheeseburger

 Where: All About Burger – Southwest, Washington, D.C.
              When: May 14, 2017
              With: Wilfredo
              Bonus? YES! 

1. Bun & Topping options: 5

I didn’t see any bun options at all – just a standard bun. Topping options were also pretty standard with a few exceptions, like A-1 and mango mayonnaise. I got the mango mayo on the side and wasn’t impressed, but I was happy to have the A-1. Overall, I chose a single burger with cheddar cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mango mayo and A-1 on the side. 5/10

2.  Overall Taste: 5

The burger itself was meh. The bun was also meh. The toppings helped to bring up the score. I would eat this burger again and likely pay for it, but I wouldn’t go around telling the world about it. 5/10

3. Value: 7

The single cheeseburger was a little less than $8 which was reasonable considering the taste and speed. What I found more valuable was my chocolate banana milkshake (around $5) and the fact that they have a half&half order of fries and onion rings for around $7. When I can get a delicious milkshake AND not have to choose between fries and onion rings I am a happy camper. 7/10

4. Atmosphere: 5

The yellow and red décor burned my eyes a bit, but I decided to sit outside which saved my eyes a bit and let me focus my attention on my burger. The people were really nice and I appreciated the outdoor seating. I was frustrated that the benches were attached to the ground, making the tables a bit inaccessible to wheelchair users. Overall, I appreciated the chill atmosphere but wanted more accessibility. 5/10

5. Burger Bonuses:  7

The milkshake selection and the option for fries and onion rings in one order really brought up the score for me at All About Burger. I would suggest they consider renaming the place Great Milkshakes and Side Orders and We Have Burgers Too. 7/10

Overall score: 29. The next time I’m in D.C. with ADAPT I will likely go back to this place because cheap and fast food options are hard to come by later in the evening near our hotel. I will definitely get another burger, but I’ll be more excited about the milkshake.

Burger 5: Wall Street

 Where: Broadway Burger Bar – Atlantic City, NJ.
              When: May 28, 2017
              With: Katie
              Bonus? No 

1. Bun & Topping options: 6

There was only one bun option, unless I wanted a gluten free bun, which I 100% did not want. There were 12 burger options to choose from, but one was a black bean burger and one was a turkey burger, so those weren’t really burgers. Of the 10 options, two were basic burgers with lettuce and tomato, so really there were only 8 options. Of the options, 3 looked good. I settled on the Wall Street which was 8 oz of freshly ground angus beef, swiss cheese, sautéed crimini, button & shitake mushrooms, and truffle mayonnaise. 6/10.  

2. Overall Taste: 8

This burger was really good. Better than I expected actually. At the waiter’s suggestion, I added a bit of A1 to the burger and it was really fantastic. The burger as juicy, the mushrooms and swiss were lovely, and the truffle mayonnaise was outrageously good. It was so delicious I *almost* ate the whole thing. Unfortunately, I ran out of room in my tummy before I could get the whole burger in me. 8/10.

3. Value: 8

This burger was $16 and came with fries. The fries were pretty standard, but the burger was so good that I’m still thinking about it. I would pay about $14 for this burger on a normal day, but I could definitely see myself spending the extra $2 on this baby in the future if I was craving it. However, I doubt I’ll be in Atlantic City again, so this is a but unlikely. 8/10.

4. Atmosphere:  6

The Broadway Burger Bar was in the Tropicana. It was easy to get to, accessible, and had classy décor. It was dimly lit and generally pretty quiet. There was nothing wrong with the place, but also nothing special. 6/10.

5. Burger Bonuses:  4

While the burger was awesome, there was nothing really beyond the burger that would add bonus points. I am giving this a 4/10 because the truffle mayo was so good that not only did I slather it all over my burger, but Katie and I also used it to dip our French fries. 4/10.

Overall score: 32. I’d definitely recommend this burger to others, but don’t expect anything beyond the burger to be amazing. The other burger options are okay, as was the atmosphere, and the price. If all you care about is a great burger, then check this one out when you’re in Atlantic City. 

Burger 6: Burger & Beer for $9.99

 Where: Temple Bar & Grille
              When: May 31, 2017
              With: Katie & her birthday tour
              Bonus? No 

1. Bun & Topping options: 2

When we arrived at the bar, it was the second bar on our Rochester Pedal Tour (where 13 people pedal a bar on wheels around the city). I had eaten one bag of Doritos the entire day (the small personal size, not a big bag – this makes a difference). Basically I was starving and saw a sign that said the Wednesday deal was “Burger and Beer for $9.99.” I asked “Can I get cider instead of beer?” Our bartender, a man we called Katy Perry (and I’m still not sure why) said yes. I then asked “Can I have lettuce, tomato, and mayo on the burger?” and Katy Perry said yes. At no point did Katy Perry offer me any other options, thus the score here is a 2/10. It would have been lower because no choices were actually offered to me, but I did get the lettuce, tomato, and may asked for. I also got onions which were NOT asked for. 2/10.

2. Overall Taste: 0

This burger was terrible. First, there was no cheese. Who serves a burger without cheese? I assume every time I order a burger cheese should come automatically. If this is not the case, Katy Perry should have at least asked me if I wanted cheese. This burger tasted so bad that I spent 10 minutes getting all the drunk people in our party to bite the burger and confirm that it was indeed terrible. Thankfully (?) Katie’s boyfriend volunteered to finish the dry, cheeseless burger for me. 0/10

3. Value: 4

As the title indicates, I got this burger and a beer for $9.99. Now it was a really bad burger, but it did come with a pint for only $9.99 so I’ve got to give them a little credit here. Also, my friends got a free pizza when they ordered their drinks, and I ate some of the pizza, so I am factoring this into the value score. 4/10

4. Atmosphere:   4

Temple Bar & Grille is downtown on East Ave. The inside looks like a basic bar. Not a fancy bar, not even a nice bar. Just a bar. Nothing makes me dislike, but nothing impressed me either. 4/10.

5. Burger Bonuses:  3

As I previously mentioned, my friends got a free pizza with their drinks. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the burger, but I did benefit from this by eating the pizza after I found out my burger sucked, so I am giving 1 bonus point for that. Additionally, the bartender allowed a group of drunk people to call him Katy Perry and didn't punch any of us, so that deserves at least 2 bonus points. 3/10.

Overall score: 13. If you have no money and no taste buds and it’s a Wednesday night, then this burger is for you. Otherwise, you should probably go somewhere – anywhere – else.

Burger 7: Plantain Burger

              Where: Soly’s Kitchen
              When: June 2, 2017
              With: Wilfredo
              Bonus? Yes 

Bun & Topping options: 10

Listen, I need to be honest, I don’t even know what toppings were available. All I know is that my burger was served between two patties of fried plantains. That’s right! My bun was made of freaking plantains! And to make it even better, there was mayoketchup (pronounced may-o-keh-chu) all over this burger! For those of you who are unrefined when it comes to Puerto Rican delicacies, mayoketchup is basically just a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup and occasionally some garlic. Basically, it takes my two favorite condiments and puts them together to pair with plantains. I cannot imagine a better burger bun or topping than fried plantain patties and mayoketchup. 10/10

Overall Taste: 8

The burger itself was just fine, but putting it between fried plantain patties and slathering it with mayoketchup made this burger fantastic. I can’t give it a 10 here because the burger patty wasn’t out of this world and figuring out how to approach this burger was intimidating because I couldn’t figure out where/how to bite it. Nonetheless, it was still AMAZING. 8/10.

Value: 10

Okay, I actually have no idea how much this burger costs because my lunch date was a classy guy who didn’t share those details with me. However, regardless of the price, it was 100% worth it. Additionally, based on the general atmosphere of the place, I can’t imagine it was ridiculously expensive. If this burger was less than $15 (and I’d bet all the hair on my head that it was) then it is definitely a 10/10 value.  

Atmosphere:     4

Soly’s Kitchen is a cute little place on Portland Ave. I’m pretty sure the owner cooked my burger and served me. Both the people working there were outrageously friendly and made me feel very welcome. The only downside is that it’s inaccessible. With 3 steps to get in, I had to be carried, which I’m generally opposed to if I am with just anyone. Luckily, I was comfortable being carried by the person I was with, but in any other circumstance, I would probably miss out on this great food because of the stairs. Because of this, I must significantly lower the score. 4/10.

Burger Bonuses:  9

My burger came with plantain chips on the side. That’s right. How can you make a meal with plantains even better? Add more plantains! In addition to being in my plantain glory, Soly’s Kitchen also had fresh mango juice and passion fruit juice. The best is when you take a sip of both and swish them together in your mouth! Between all the plantains and tropical fruit juices, I could not have been a happier girl. Wait, no, I could. If I had maduros (fried sweet plantains) to go with my plantain bun and my plantain chips, it would have blown my mind. For that reason alone, I am giving this a 9/10.

Overall score: 41. If you live for plantains and tropical fruit, and you also don’t need accessibility, you’ll love this place. However, because the restaurant is inaccessible, I can’t recommend it. The moment they find a way to be accessible to all, I will promote the hell of this place because that burger was life changing. 

Burger 8: Burger Special

              When: June 5, 2017
              With: Wilfredo
              Bonus? Yes 

Bun & Topping options: 9

Bunga Burger Bar has six different bun options, including a pretzel bun and a rosemary olive oil bun. They also have 12 different burgers and at least one special burger every day. The 12 burger options include delicious winners such as the Cuban (with pulled pork, bacon, provolone, and pickles) and the Bacon Mac n Cheese burger. Previously, a special was the Mozzarella Stick Burger where the burger came piled with mozzarella sticks, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. On this trip I chose the special with bacon, mozzarella, egg, and tomato (it also came with avocado, but I took that ick off). Given all the bun options and topping combos, this place gets a 9/10 in this category.

Overall Taste: 9

My burger was juicy, the egg was cooked just right, and the mozzarella really added a special touch. It looked and tasted so good that I had already taken several bites before I realized I didn’t take a picture for this blog! To illustrate just how good this burger was, let me tell you about the next day. I took my leftovers to work for lunch the next day. My sister had pasta and I had this burger. I offered her a bite of my burger and she COULDN’T STOP EATING IT. The burger was so good that even the next day it was delicious!! 9/10

Value: 10

I think this burger was $11.50 and it was definitely worth it. I would have paid that for the burger alone, but it also came with sweet potato fries with honey drizzled on them. While I didn’t pay for this burger, it was good enough for me to want to go back and be willing to pay the $11.50 for it. Honestly, I would probably be willing to pay a little more for this burger, so it’s definitely a good value. 10/10

Atmosphere: 6

Bunga Burger Bar is in College Town which is an area right by the University of Rochester. It’s a nice area and the restaurant has accessible parking and is accessible inside as well. Nothing about the inside wows me, but it’s certainly not a let down either. 6/10

Burger Bonuses:  6

I really like the sweet potato fries that they serve and the drizzle of honey really does make them even more delicious. 6/10

Overall score: 40. If you’re looking for a delicious burger and lots of topping options, Bunga Burger Bar will not disappoint. The sweet potato fries definitely seal the deal and keep me coming back!