The best thrift stores in St. Paul and Minneapolis

By: Emilia Moberg

For those who enjoy thrifting, the Twin Cities is a great area to shop in. Throughout the cities, there are countless stores, each with unique features that make them a must-visit. However, the copious amount of stores can feeling daunting, so here’s my curated list of a few of the best thrift stores in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Best women’s clothing: Encore Consignment Boutique

Encore is my pick for the best women’s thrift store in St. Paul/Minneapolis, because of its wide selection of brands and reasonable prices. Encore uses the consignment selling model, which means you give them your clothing, and get a partial profit back when the clothes are sold. At a regular thrift store, clothing can be only donated. Consignment and other more curated stores ensure that you will be looking through quality clothing.

Encore sells an array of pants, dresses, shoes and accessories, and features jewelry from local artists. I personally like Encore because they feature items from a variety of higher-end brands such as Ambercrombie and Kate Spade, as well as good-quality items for 10-20 dollars. They even have a bin of mostly vintage, graphic t-shirts for 2 dollars each. At Encore, I’ve found some of my favorite dresses and sweaters that I consider staples in my closet.

Best vintage: Time Bomb Vintage

Time Bomb is the place to go if you’re looking for quality, vintage items. They have a significant selection of t-shirts, dresses and pants, as well as vintage games, toys and records. The prices at Time Bomb can be higher compared to other places, ranging from 25 to 150+ dollars. However, when I do purchase an item, it is something I love and know is a quality piece. Similarly to Encore, the selection at Time Bomb is curated and they specialize in vintage items.

Best bargain: Salvation Army Bins

Sometimes when you’re out thrifting, you just want to buy a lot of items for cheap. If this sounds like you, try out the Salvation Army Bins. The clothes are presented in large bins and the prices are done by weight. While you have to spend time digging through piles of clothing, at the Salvation Army in North Loop, the price for a pound of clothing is slightly under 2 dollars! While the selection is not curated, I have found high-quality and oftentimes brand name items in good condition.

‘Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’

By: Manny Ochoa-Reeve

Image taken from: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Game Freak has just recently come out with a new Pokémon game called ‘Scarlet and Violet’. This game is packed with a lot of new features and content.

If you don’t know what Pokémon is, it’s a video game franchise where you can catch creatures called Pokémon, and train them to be stronger, and level them up to have stronger stages of themselves called evolutions. There are over 1000 Pokémon to catch spread out in 9 different generations. Generations just tell you around what time these Pokémon came out.

One of the biggest new things in the new game is the new Pokémon. Generation 9 has just released 107 new Pokémon in the game. These generation 9 Pokémon are very well designed because they are simple but still have lots of detail.

Not only are there new Pokémon but Pokémon from old generations are getting new stages in their evolution. These Pokémon are Primeape, Dunsparce, Bisharp, and Girafarig. I would tell you about the new evolutions and Pokémon but I wouldn’t want to spoil them.

Something Game Freak has done with all of their games is they come out with two versions of the game. Both versions are the same game but the only difference is the exclusive Pokémon you can catch and the exclusive legendary you can catch. In the new game, you can choose between the versions Scarlet or Violet.

Violet is based on futuristic Pokémon and you will be able to catch more futurist Pokémon along with a really strong electric legendary Pokémon.

In Pokémon Scarlet, you get Pokémon from the past, so this game has more ancient Pokémon with a really strong fighting type Pokémon.

In my opinion it doesn’t really matter about the version exclusives because you can buy all of the Pokémon from trading online.

The story in this game is really good because of how much there is to do. In the story you attend a school where they give you a “treasure hunt” which means you go out and explore, and if you choose to you can complete 3 main story paths.

One of the biggest parts of the storyline is to defeat different gym trainers which are very powerful Pokémon trainers and once you defeat them you can become champion of the island.

The other part of the story is going to different hideouts to defeat bully’s across the island. This part of the story doesn’t really make sense to me and to me wasn’t really necessary.

My favorite path of the story is you go to defeat Boss Pokémon to find different plants so you can power up your Pokémon. This brings a lot of interesting fights.

This Pokémon is different from others because it’s open world. This game is really good because you can really do whatever you want. You can train your Pokémon, fight everyone, defeat the boss Pokémon, catch more Pokémon, and beat the bully’s. There’s also a bunch of towns you can visit to complete side quests.

Another part of this game is the different regions that have different Pokémon, for example, the mountain where you can find ice Pokémon or on the ocean you can find water Pokémon. There’s a lot of different areas and things to explore but the only way to find them is to explore it yourself.

In my opinion, this Pokémon game is definitely, probably, the best of the series. All of the things you can do in this game really makes it so you won’t get bored. The only bad thing I can think about from this game is the frame rate which can make the game slow at some points but it really isn’t that big of a deal. I recently beat the game and I can say that this game was a 10/10.

‘I am not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter’: First impressions, review

By: Alexa Ramirez

*Warning: Contains spoilers

Book by: Erika L. Sanchez

I first started reading ‘I am not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter’ with a hope that I would relate on the unique experience that is growing up a Mexican girl. This book allowed me, and many other readers, a chance to explore a perspective they could either relate to or learn from (or both!).

This book explores many topics, some being: poverty, sexism, and classism. The main character is a 15-year-old high school girl named Julia Reyes who lives in an apartment in Chicago with her parents. They are both poor immigrants from Mexico who had two daughters, but early on in the story you learn that their oldest, Olga, had just recently gotten hit by a semi and died. She was the parent’s idea of a perfect daughter; she didn’t go out often, she focused on school, she helped around the house cooking and cleaning, and abided by their rules.

Julia, however, was the opposite. She wanted to go out to the city and she smoked and drank and partied, she had no idea how to cook and broke most house rules they had. But Julia was extremely smart; she had skipped a grade and read and wrote constantly.

When Olga died, she and Julia weren’t that close, but it tore apart their family. Their parents were devastated, and Julia was in complete shock. They fought all the time because her parents started comparing the two girls which hurt Julia, but she never wanted to be home anymore and was over analyzing the death of her sister, which hurt her parents.

Now Julia was going to have to figure out how to continue to learn about her sister’s death without her parents approval, since they found it disrespectful to pry in her things, but Julia felt that for her own closure, she needed to know about Olga’s life before she died, which was turning out to be more unpredictable than she had expected.

Although she faces difficulties with criticism and judgement from her mom on various aspects of her life, Julia remains a fiery and expressive person. When teachers gave her a hard time, she defended herself and on one occasion even left the classroom because her teacher was picking on her. When she was going to the university Olga had attended before her death, in search of answers to her questions about Olga’s mystery life, she got in a big argument with, and wasn’t afraid to tell off, the woman at the desk who wouldn’t give her Olga’s records even after she knew who she was and why she needed them. It shaped up to be an explosive encounter but Julia never backed down.

This aspect of her character was one I cherished and was inspired by. It was my main takeaway from this story because she goes through so much in every way imaginable; her family’s money struggles have put her through hunger and denied her many opportunities, she has a troubled relationship with both parents (and for a lot of the story with her best friend Lorena), and faces many little struggles with her school and in the area of Chicago where she lives. Plus, on top of all of this, is grieving the loss of her sister.

Despite this, she never looses the fire she has that allows her to stand up for herself throughout the story. In situations where she needs to advocate for herself with her mom, her best friend, boys and men in her life, her voice saves her and is really all she can depend on. The strength she had to continue advocating for herself, despite all of the people shrugging her off and silencing her, gave me hope for the times I’m feeling ignored or weak and inspired me to continue to encourage myself and those around me despite what I’m going through.

Another aspect of this story that was important was the amount of cultural and generational trauma that was embedded into the plot and into the characters. It was obvious that Julia had some issues with the way her family saw the world and was constantly criticizing her sister for having conformed to many dated norms that were enforced by her parents, like staying home and cooking and cleaning because she was a girl in the family, without a problem. This was something that had obviously been taught to her parents and had been the norms in their societies for a long time, which is why that was the standard for their children, too. Applying this to the plot of the story was something that made all the difference, since it left another layer to analyze and learn about from the perspective of someone going through it firsthand.

Those clever applications of the real world struggles of a young girl character, and its unique plot really raised the bar and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I rate it a 4/5 because though it was good, I would’ve liked the plot to move faster but would recommend it and am glad to have read it.