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09 October, 2013

My Dorm Room

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✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY

This whole first month I've been in college I have: received the news that I had an appendicitis and had to be rushed in the emergency room at midnight on a Wednesday, pulled my first successful all-nighter, been on the subway by myself, used a credit card for the first time, and worn black every single day.

I'm still recovering from my surgery, which was literally the randomest thing that could have happened out of nowhere--that's like, not even the wrong use of random, where you say "Ha ha, I'm so random, I like eggs, random ha RANDOM", I mean, I'm just, you know, sitting in my dorm room, when I get an incredible ache in my stomach, and then proceed to vomit for the next two hours, then decide I might as well go to the hospital, where I vomit for ten hours straight, then get a CAT scan (which I never had done before, hollatchugurl for all her firsts this month) which told the doctors that my appendix could probably kill me if not removed, and then I got so nervous and hyperventilate-y that both my hands and my face became paralyzed, and each time a doctor handed me a pen to sign some document I was not about to read in my drug-induced state, it fell right out of my hands.

It's been a good month.

On the bright side, I love being able to rest in my dorm room.  My incessant need to keep everything clean at all times has served me well.

06 September, 2013

So Go And Dance Yourself Clean

Last night


✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY

Once, I believed I couldn't dance.  I was sixteen and still hadn't found my confidence.  What a waste!  Recently, however, I haven't been able to stop dancing.  Once you find you're good at something, it's very hard to stop trying to reassure yourself you actually can do it.  So you don't stop.  For a long time.

I am still waiting for someone to whisk me someplace so we can salsa dance at night.  Shouldn't this have happened already.

05 September, 2013

In New York

Central PARK


✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY

I have officially moved into my New York City dorm room.  I went to my first class yesterday and was lost for twenty minutes. I've been on a diet of almonds and dark chocolate morsels for the past three days.  Feeling very optimistic, thank goodness-- I'd like to believe that's the chocolate working its magic.

07 August, 2013

Look After Me And I Will Look After You

August


✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Being content is so nice.  Catching yourself being content is nicer.

I was going to follow that thought with a pessimistic one about how being sad "sucks", but that would have sucked the impetus of what I'm trying to bring across.

You can frame your life however you like.  Even when unexpected things out of your control occur, you can choose how you'll react.  You can incorporate and remove things.

You can make your life pretty if you want.  Why wouldn't you try, if you can?  Even if your everyday isn't rose-tinted, trying to make it come alive isn't narcissistic.  Decorate your surroundings and leave a mark, even if it's a tiny one.  Live in your body and be nice to it.  If you're able to, choose to be okay.

It's seventeen days until I'm not seventeen anymore.  It's twenty-three days until I leave San Diego and move across the country to start college.  I'm not nervous at all, which makes me nervous.  I'm not sure whether to be fretting, and over what.  But I'm holding on this confidence-- I used to get so incredibly worked up over small things, waiting in paralyzing anticipation for them to arrive, only to have them come and go, and forgotten two days afterwards.  When I leave, I will have left, and school will start, and I probably won't think about it.  Because life continues to happen.  And new good things will appear.  Try to choose to be okay.

12 July, 2013

I Already Forgot Everything You Said

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✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Today I bought myself my own flowers while I was picking up apples at Henry's.  I never realized how much I need to buy my own flowers on a frequent basis, but I'm glad I have.  I like knowing they're sitting someplace in my room, the other living thing in this space, and we both take care of each other.  These flowers and I.

I've been thinking a lot about places lately.  I don't think we'll ever truly be fully content anywhere.  We say we want the opposite of where we're at now, and then once we've escaped, we realize that we had what we sort of wanted all along and we regret leaving and we start lying on our floors face down more often than we used to and replaying For Emma, Forever Ago at an alarming frequency.  I've been panicking about this all day.  My entire life I've sat snug in my bubble of moving to New York and becoming a Times Best-Selling Author and developing my voice and in the process end up morphing into the character Andy Sachs from The Devil Wears Prada.  I dreamt of sidewalks and exposed brick walls and tall buildings and liveliness.  And now I'm realizing the ephemeralness of things and how I'm probably not going to find what I'm looking for if I move but at the same time feeling like if I don't, I'll regret it.  In my mind, I'm looking at this situation as a thing I'm afraid of doing, but if I actually do it, it'll be a brave thing to do.  Putting myself out there.  I'm also thinking a lot about the whole "It's not the place you're at, but the people you're with" way of living, and I keep scrunching my body up and feeling like I need to sleep it off.

I bought myself flowers and they made me cry a little bit, but I couldn't bring myself to play For Emma, Forever Ago, because the thought of forcing myself to be sad to let it out faster made me sick.

11 July, 2013

Never Thought That I Would Grow So Old of Seeing the Gold

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✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

I can't remember when I started caring about my eyebrows, but I think it's generally accepted that there's something about grooming your own eyebrows and feeling like your entire personality has been enhanced?

It's July and I've started to open up my windows and the soft white curtains flow in the wind and at the time of sunset, when the wind blows softly into my room and dusk illuminated through the tree branches fills me with a sad happiness.

I think maybe summer makes beach people kind of sad.  Maybe I can hibernate this summer.

10 June, 2013

When You Were Young You Were The King of Carrot Flowers

✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

I graduated from high school on the sixth of June, and I'm having a mild existential crisis about it, which I will try to soothe as the remainder of this post continues!

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was told junior year was going to be the most challenging.  When I was a junior, I was told that senior year was going to be a breeze, and most of the intense stress from junior year was going to be replaced with stressing about whether I was spending enough time with my friends before we all graduated.

This was a lie, and two days ago, High School Musical 3: Senior Year received a beating from my screaming at it while it streamed on Disney Channel.

Most of my junior year was spent stressing over whether I was preparing myself to be impressive enough for colleges, or whether I was developing good study habits to last me for the next five years of  my life.  Senior year was spent crying over college applications and getting the grade up just a couple decimals up to get it to the next letter grade.

Both years I spent hating myself because I was consciously aware of how bad I was frucking up my life, grades, and comfort levels, but in order to deal with my anxiety, I felt the need to put everything off so as to not to be in the midst of these things, which would, of course, end in more tears all over the place.


Now, it's summer again.  Last summer I started taking walks along my neighborhood.  I gave myself my own consent that I had "grown up".  I don't have to cry about many things anymore.  I am going to a college to study the thing I am most passionate in life in the city I have always dreamed of living in.

For now, I have the rest of the summer to dwell in this suburb.

09 May, 2013

A Sister's Social Agony

if only (an ode to casey's hair)

✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: VERACRUZ, MEXICO

One thing that I resent about me being the oldest sister, and not growing up with a companion close my age, is the fact that I never had anyone to impress.  I didn't try to better myself or learn from someone else's mistakes.  I couldn't talk to my father about the things I was curious about because he expected me to find a way to figure it out on my own.  I chose not to talk to my mother about things because she very respectfully abhors excuses, which I'm full of.

the way way back



I get so obnoxious and cheesy when it comes to having sisters.  For one, I think the idea of sisters fits my aesthetic preferences so much.  Maybe it has something to do with watching Madeline and the Parent Trap too much as a child.  Also, I get consumed with horrible pride whenever either of them comes to me with a question or some way to impress me.

When I was a few years younger, and still cruel to Sabrina, my dad would often berate me for this, and he would always find a way to let me know in the end of our conversation that all my sister wanted was "to impress me and have me like her".  My heart always broke and I ended the day being overly nice to her, which would then lead to me becoming angry and cruel again whenever she didn't reciprocate.


catedrál candelabro


I made a pact with Sabrina over half a year ago.

We promise each other a lot of things, and I know that she can be very nonchalant about the things she tells me, and the things I tell her, but I make sure to keep it in my heart that I will stay true to my promises to her.

One of our pacts is to legally be drunk in front of one another for the first time.  This means that I will wait until she's 21 so that we can both be piss-drunk, as the kids say, This works out fine for me, considering how scared I am of alcohol.  We also plan to live together and try to become adults together for at least a little bit because we're not really sure how letting go of people works yet.


(tears) zócalo de puebla


We went to Mexico recently to visit some family and see some prettyness and I got really emotionally attached to my camera and my sisters' beauty.  The end.

17 February, 2013

For The Morning After You Fell Asleep Crying


Recently I have cried a suffocating kind of crying three times and that number worries me but excites me as well.

I think any reminder that something mattered so much, you can't restrain your disappointment that it is gone, is beautiful.

I've noticed that I cry a lot.  I consider this, if I'll be honest with myself, a weakness.  I don't know if it's because I'm weak or if I just have an easily-moved heart.  I cry every time I hear Dreaming Of You by Selena.  I cried when Jess Aarons punched that bully after Leslie died in Bridge to Terabithia.  I cried when Ewan McGregor called his father-in-law in The Impossible (let's be real, I couldn't see, like, half the movie through my tears).  I sobbed one time when my friend told me I was special and it was actually kind of embarrassing.  I cry a lot.

The suffocating kind of cry that I'm talking about is really...  hurful, in a way.  I feel so sad about nothing in particular afterwards.  My head and my eyes always hurt.  I hate seeing myself in the mirror because I look weak.  It's the kind of crying where you can hear the tears coming out of you in a sort of bellowing fashion?  And you hunch over and you cover your face with your palms and you know there is snot all over them and you just imagine yourself in this corner of your world, and you know that someone out there is okay and doesn't have a reason to cry, and you wonder what your'e doing, heaving out your problems, and why won't anyone lightly knock at your door and place a comforting hand on your back?

I hope none of you experience that kind of crying.  And if you do, I hope the okay-ness comes sooner than later.

I kiss each of you on the top of the head.  Here's some Motrin.

LANA DEL REY | Pawn Shop Blues
BUTCH WALKER | Don't You Think Someone Should Take You Home
JANIS JAPLIN | Little Girl Blue
NICO | Eulogy to Lenny Bruce
BON IVER | Wash.
LYKKE LI | Time Flies
FIONA APPLE | Across the Universe
THE WHITE LIGHTS | A Place Where We Can Go
WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS | I Don't Feel It Anymore
SUFJAN STEVENS | All The Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands
BOB DYLAN | Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
THE KOOKS | Seaside
COEUR DE PIRATE | Someone to Watch Over Me
JOHNNY CASH | Redemption Day
CHET BAKER | I Get Along Without You Very Well
WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS | Goodmorning


16 February, 2013

Get Out

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✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: BIG BEAR, CALIFORNIA

I sometimes go on worrisome spurts of joy which make me dizzy.  I was inspecting my nails and then I realized how pretty they looked in the dark, with only my string of lights hanging by my window shining on them.  I was so overwhelmed by my appreciation of my clean nails that I decided to love everything.  I was so happy to love my friends and to love the pair of shoes next to my bed which I've had since I was a freshman and still fit me.  I was so happy to love the kind people of the world and to love the amounts of chocolate I would be eating next week.  I was so happy to love the way my hair curled after taking a shower and how much I had been reading recently.

I suddenly felt very deep and I told myself: "Some people say that happiness is exhausting and too hard, which is why they feel like falling into sadness is much easier, but I disagree, happiness is so easy if you try!"

I tiptoed to my door and creaked it open and looked out into our hallway and heard the peaceful chorus of four sleeping people snoring and it made me smile a teensy weensy until I remembered why I got out of bed in the first place: I really wanted to tell my little sister I loved her.

But she was asleep.  I couldn't!  How could I let her know that I love her ever again without meaning it as much as I did right now, when I am so happy!?

So now I'm in my room and it's really dark and the snores coming from outside now feel like taunts and I'm scared to sleep.

09 February, 2013

Books For The Obnoxious Parisian Soul In An American Body

I've been to Paris once, so that clearly makes me connoisseur of France and its capital, as you're well aware.  Southern California is pretty great and all, but I discovered the second I was born here that my true home lay someplace else (or, at least, until I actually move there and discover in a horrible, prolonged mid-life crisis that I liked Southern California better after all.)  I consider myself a subtle but obnoxious Francophile that doesn't know much to try to become a citizen at one point, but knows enough that it agrees with my aesthetic and it just looks so darn nice I can't very much help it.

While I continue to me absent from my dreamland, I occupy my mind and satiate my needs with books that only increase my sadness, but still excite me.

the sun also rises
1. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway was kind-of-sort-of crazy in a slight way, not yet Poe delusional, but still admirable for his strong sense of judgement.  After I finished reading this book I found out that he had, in fact, killed himself, which I wasn't surprised to find out.  Disregarding this morbid intro that I'm sure is turning you off already, I like this book, or at least, I liked reading it that one time, because I used to be obsessed with connecting myself, some way or another, to the Lost Generation, and then to the Beat Generation, and wanting to feel the same sense of poetic isolation they felt-- then, I came to the conclusion that all these kids had was extra confidence, and sure feelings about their writing and their hatred and other negative things that I realized I didn't truly want.  Regardless, while Ernest Hemingway may have not been a sweetheart, this story of these Americans who travel to Paris and encounter a loss of self and disillusionment and bull-fighting!

suite francaise
2. Suite Française, Irène Némirovsky
Now, this book I haven't read, but this book is set in Paris, during the War, when the Nazis took over Paris.  Like I mentioned before, I like that this book exists, and that I own it, because it sheds a different light on this place that I really like, and it sort of reminds me that Paris wasn't born with people drinking cafe au laits and having goose for dinner with baguettes they carried all the way home in their striped shirts.  Némirovsky had planned for this book to turn into a five-part series of books, detailing the life in France and the takeover, but was arrested right after the second book was finished, and later sent to Auschwitz, where she, unfortunately, passed away.

paris to the moon
3. Paris to the MoonAdan Gopnik
Ooompf.  This book is about Gopnik's family moving from New York to Paris in 1995, ready to delve into what they have always dreamed Paris would be like for them.  Sometimes, the book was a tiny kick to the stomach, as I (as you've noticed) have held Parisian lifestyle in a pedestal, and seem to think that everything that happens in Paris is the first three minutes of Midnight in Paris, but then I realize that I actually have been there, I've walked on the streets, I've bought myself cherries and gelato in Rue Cler, and I'm still not disillusioned.

parisian chic
4. Parisian Chic, Ines de la Fressange
Ines de la Fressange is a really cool woman who lives in Paris and has a sense of humor and style and a dreamy-looking apartment, who wrote this book which my sister gave me for Christmas a year ago.  Not only does it look pretty (it's like a beautiful moleskine journal that's already been filled in for you by a cooler, older sister), but it's so great, and I always feel so inadequate when I read it (in the best way).  The writing in it is honest, the pictures are beautiful, and it's really clever and funny.  Whenever I feel sad, sometimes I like to make myself sadder and flip through the book.  This sounds like worst book review, but I'm telling you, I'd take it to the grave.  [in between sobs] Parisian women are so much better than me.

the paris wife
5. The Paris WifePaula McLain
At Costco, I enter, leave my mother with the cart, return with chocolate-covered raisins, then make a beeline for the books they have stocked.  Most of the time, they only have boxed sets of The Hunger Games or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but on a fateful Sunday afternoon, I spotted the word "Paris" (how many times have I written that word in this post, I am so sorry) among the titles, and pulled this book out from behind some politician's take on our American government.  Mentioning Ernest Hemingway twice already is probably too much, but this book is about a girl's encounter being married to Ernest Hemingway in the 1920's.  I want to make a joke about it but it'd be terrible, but either way, I'm excited to read it and to either love it or be disappointed!

paris was ours
6. Paris Was OursPenelope Rowlands
This book is my treasure.  I eyed it every time I walked into Anthropologie, and one day I decided that I had money to buy it and I obviously really wanted it, so I bought it.  Good decisions!  This book is a collection of essays by thirty-two writers who had visited or lived in Paris, and their experiences, ranging from the culinary arts, to raising a family, to etiquette, to style, oh my gosh.  It's one of my favorite books of all time, and if you take anything out of this post, is that this book is a wonderful thing that I am so glad exists.

(* Honorary mention of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 'cause John Green likes it so much.)

03 February, 2013

She Spoke Words That Would Melt In Your Hands


✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: BIG BEAR, CALIFORNIA

I tried once to do my sister justice on the internet before, and that wasn't enough, and this surely won't be enough, but I'm thankful anyway for these sporadic needs I get to want to record in time and space one of my favorite people of all time.

Sappy messages like these get repeated over and over but I suppose you'll just have to trust me when I say that I couldn't mean it any more than I do right now.

My sister is Sabrina Michelle Sandoval.  She was born the night before Tarzan the movie premiered worldwide-- I was so furious that she had been born, and I was furious with my mother for doing this to me, and after giving my immediate family the silent treatment for two nights in a row, my father decided to take me to the movie theatre right across the street so that we could both watch Tarzan.

Growing up, she and I fought a lot.  We fought all the time.  We grew up in a tiny home by the beach in Baja California, Mexico, and we wrestled almost every day.  At least that's what we called it.  We would find a reason to start a fight, and consequently I would find myself with my knee on her chest and pulling one of her pigtails while she pinched one arm and bit into the other.  (I would like to add that I was her blessed practice, my sister pinches harder than any person I have ever known and I am so proud of her.)

I found many reasons to try to be mad at her before I turned ten.  I was always angry that she had curlier ringlets than I, or that she had skinnier legs than me, or that all the teachers at our school thought she was the cute one now, and she got diplomas when her baby teeth fell out-- I think the period that peeved me off the most was this time where I was ten and she was six, and after church every Sunday, my dad would take the entire family out to eat ice cream at Thrifty's.  I would order chocolate and she would, too.  Noticing she was doing this to bother me, I would then change my mind and order strawberry, and she would, too.  For some reason, this drove me out of my silly ten-year-old mind.  I felt like I hated her and she was born for my life to be ruined (I can feel this Disney teen sitcom writing itself).  I hated this so much that every time we went to get ice cream after that, I would hang by the back of the parlor and wait until she was done ordering so that I could later order something different.  This often backfired for me because she always wanted chocolate and that was my thing, of course.

One day, I became aware of my sister's vulnerability.  I think about it now, and it probably wouldn't have been such a big deal to me now, but to my eight-year-old self, it felt like an attack on both of us.  My sister grew up knowing more Spanish than English, and she always had trouble forming sentences in English.  Sometimes, she would get made fun of because she couldn't speak English in front of her English-speaking friends, but she brushed it off.  This one day, however, I arrived home and was greeted by my sister, home early from school, because her teacher decided it would be better, considering how a group of girls had made her cry.  In that moment, I realized that my sister was a part of me, a part that I knew deep down I had to protect,  I never wanted to hear again that my sister felt inferior to someone else.

I tried my best to protect her and be there for her when she wanted me.  I still try today.  But that's not why she's my favorite person.

She has, somehow, become my protector.  She's four years younger than me, but she understands me and my feelings and we're both so in sync it makes me want to cry.

When I first starting getting panic attacks and I would get scolded on car rides to school in the morning, she'd hold my hand because I kept wringing them together.  She tries hard to make me laugh.  We feel safer with each other's company, and it's one of the greatest feelings.

Today I asked her, "If I were to ever leave home for a bit, would you want me to let you know?" and she incredulously looked at me and surely said "Yeah!" and I said "Oh" and she said "If you're going, I'm going with you."

13 January, 2013

Take This Pink Ribbon Off My Eyes


✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

My name is Jessica Samantha.  And I'm a "What's In My Bag"-type posts addict.

I think it's because you can tell a lot about a person from what they carry around in their bags?  Maybe it's because I live with myself, but I don't think the contents of my bag fully represent what my personal life looks like.  Which is actually not very good evidence for my original theory, but, yaknow.

My favorite posts are the ones from those manic pixie girls on Tumblr, or the artists and poets.  Those people are all over the place, so to see their cute pictures of organized stuff they find important to have with them at all times-- I want to be friends with all of these kids.

I'm still reading The Secret History by Donna Tart, but I'm still trying to refocus my energy into productivity, so I'll get there.  I carry a tin box that I bought in a gift shop on top of Mont. Saint Michel in France, and in there is my secret stash of candy.  Currently I have a bag of Everlasting Gobstopper's.

I have an unfortunate obsession with lip balm and lipsticks.  I abhor lip gloss, so what I'm missing in lipgloss, I hoard lipstick.  Lipstick lipstick lipstick.  Just look at the word, it's so fancy.  I have three different tins of Rose and Strawberry lip salve, I'm kind of worried for myself.

Ah.  So organized.

12 January, 2013

Luces de Bengala

luces de bengala

✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO

Everything that could have been said about this New Year has, obviously, already been said.  A lot of people don't like setting resolutions because they think it is hopeless.  A lot of other people think that they only way they're going to get things done is by setting goals for themselves, promising they'll be more fit or quit smoking.  I personally believe that this new year is a nice, healthy incentive to start my own personal resolution for 2013:  start making more goals.

I don't promise myself that I'll be fitter, or I'll stop eating chocolate (that...  I just laughed out loud thinking about such a thing), but I do promise that I'll start setting goals for myself.  I will meet them and I will create new ones for myself.  I believe this cycle will help me become a more fulfilled, self-appreciating person.

That's my only promise to myself.  I know if I promise various, more specific things, I will become upset once I don't meet them.

Also, sometimes I like to think I'm a talented video editor:



This is secretly one of my secretly secret goals-- I plan to document my life a bit more this year, with pictures and film.  If it turns out to be ugly and non-aesthetically-pleasing, well I'll know in my heart that I tried.