life lately

life lately has been a little hectic. i've been in school for only eight days but it feels like months. senior year is definitely no walk in the park. i'm having fun though, and i'm being more productive this year than i've ever been at the start of a school year (man i wish i could switch this new productive me with junior year me). college applications are going well, and every day i'm feeling less and less stressed about them. i finished my essay today and i must say, i'm very pleased with the way it turned out! once i get all my decisions i'll post it, i promise. when i have time i'll make a separate post about college apps and writing college essays and all that fun stuff, but for now i just wanted to post a quick update. i hope everyone's enjoying the start of their school year!


*photo taken with the IncrediBooth app (i highly recommend it!) also...i'm the one on the left if you didn't know



as a celebration for successfully having my wisdom teeth extracted from my mouth and for me finishing seven weeks of a super intense summer job, my mom and i decided to take a little trip up to LA last tuesday.

i'd had regina spektor tickets for months (after waiting since approximately eighth grade for her to go on tour...) and since we weren't super excited about the prospect of driving home from LA at midnight after the concert, we planned a mini vacation out of it.

unfortunately, on tuesday morning i was still fighting off a nasty cold i picked up from the kids at work, so we didn't get the early start we had intended. that plus the notoriously awful LA traffic meant we didn't arrive at our hotel until almost 4. not wanting to get stuck in traffic again, we took the metro down to hollywood to walk around for a while and get dinner before the concert.

not many pictures were taken on this leg of the journey since i was trying as hard as possible not to seem like a tourist, but i couldn't resist this cheeky graffiti in the metro station:

after a wide-eyed preview of the walk of fame and a delicious dinner (fried cod over fresh salad for me) we hopped on the metro back to the hotel, freshened up, and headed off to the concert.

once again, we underestimated the horribleness of the traffic/parking situation, and didn't end up pulling into the venue until about 8:15, just after the opening act (regina's husband (jack dishel)'s band, only son) had started. still, the temperature was absolutely perfect and the venue was beautiful. the concert took place in LA's greek theatre, an outdoor amphitheater nestled in a city park.

the concert itself was absolutely beautiful. like i said, i've been a regina spektor fan since middle school, and her performance was everything i could have hoped for. she played plenty of old favorites and songs from her new album and the crowd was so into it. (my only problem was my awful cold which caused me to choke halfway to death trying to stifle my coughs during "samson.")

i didn't want to be so preoccupied with taking pictures that i missed half the concert, so this is all i got:

...not the best photography. but it was perfect.

the next morning, we woke up bright and early, drove to the nearest metro stop, and rode back down to hollywood for some sightseeing. after a very quick breakfast at the iconic hollywood mcdonald's, we walked over to the egyptian theatre to start our tour. at this point, we abandoned all self-consciousness of seeming like tourists - we had headsets and followed our tour guide around like lost ducklings. still, the tour was super informative, and we got to see all the big sights - the dolby theatre (where the oscars are), the walk of fame, the chinese theatre (where all the big premieres are, with all the stars' handprints in the cement out front), the el capitan theatre, and, of course, the hollywood sign.

after all that, we did a little shopping in hollywood (my mom and i can never resist zara, no matter where) and got back on the metro to downtown LA. we hadn't really planned out this part of the trip, so we ended up walking around aimlessly and getting lunch at a nondescript (but delicious) mediterranean restaurant, and then walking to the cathedral of our lady of the angels, a beautiful, modern cathedral right downtown.

the murals on the wall were super neat -- there were saints and past popes and other important people in catholicism painted alongside modern-day parishioners. (if you look closely at the bottom-right picture up there, you can see two little boys in shorts and sneakers.) the architecture was very abstract and modern, but i really enjoyed it.

after that, we got back on the metro to where our car was parked, and drove home. for almost 5 hours. when people tell you that LA traffic is horrendous, they are not lying.

still, it was so nice to get away for a little while, spend some time with my mom and see one of the most well-known cities in america.

LA trip = success!

xoxo maria


♫ a summertime playlist ♫

♫ a summertime playlist by pratibha 
i want you to know that this is, first and foremost, a summer playlist. i wanted to make one mainly because this is the last summer of my "childhood", having turned 18 in june and all (yay adult life), and i wanted to compile this lovely list of songs for you guys which basically sums up my feelings toward leaving high school, being stuck in a unique kind of limbo this summer, and then starting college. 

i realize that it's nearing the end of august already and that autumn will soon be upon us but i really wanted to share this with you anyway. it was important for me to capture and feeling and essence of what this particular summer was so that maybe when you're missing the sweet smell of the ocean, or the nights you spent with the grass between your toes, or the laughs of friends you may never see again, you'll have something to take you back. the summers of my life have always been the most beautiful collection of moments and memories that i'll never forget, shared with the greatest friends and meeting really wonderful strangers, and i hope yours were as well. this playlist isn't just something i want for myself, but it's something that i hope will connect all of our summers together, a collective web of excitement, misfortune, and acceptance. this time of the year always has a certain scent/rhythm to it and i think this playlist captures it perfectly.

1. fertilizer by frank ocean
2. young blood by the naked and famous
3. carried away by passion pit
4. carousels by beirut
5. many ways by bombay bicycle club
6. every time you go by ellie goulding
7. gobbledigook by sigur ros
8. ghosts by laura marling
9. half moon by blind pilot
10. caring is creepy by the shins
11. your bones by of monsters and men
12. folding chair by regina spektor
13. wake me up by ed sheeran
14. punching in a dream by the naked and famous
15. claudia lewis by m83
16. forrest gump by frank ocean

listen to it in order because that's how i imagined the rise and fall of my summer and i don't know, i just meant for it to play in that sequence. anyway, i hope everybody enjoys their last days of summer and that you have a great year ahead!

love, pratibha


happy birthday to me: a post on birthdays

My name is Alex, it's 3:12 am, and today is my 17th birthday. Being one of the youngest students in my class, I have looked forward to this day ever since my junior year started a year ago, but now that it has come, I don't feel any different. I shouldn't be surprised though, because I never feel any different on my birthday. I'm sure everyone will ask me "How does it feel to be 17?" today, and I'll answer to every one of them, "Feels the same as 16," and then shrug or something. But to be honest, even though I don't feel any different today, I'm sure I will in a couple of months when my life starts to get serious. Senior year is a big year and I'm sure I'll look back at my 16-year-old self on graduation day and think: Wow I've changed. But until then I'm just going to enjoy the moment and share some things about birthdays that I love and some things about birthdays that I could really do without.

Things I Love About Birthdays:
1. Cake (especially chocolate cake with chocolate icing. hey, what can I say? I love chocolate.)
2. Presents. I love getting presents and seeing how well people know me. It's sort of like a test of friendship (;
3. The love you feel from your family and friends. It doesn't get any better than this, folks.
4. Getting older! I love getting older because it means I've lived another year and because it reminds me that I have so much more to experience in life.
5. Celebrations. Whether it be a huge party or a small dinner with friends, the fact that people are coming together because of me makes me feel pretty special.

Things About Birthdays I Could Do Without:
1. Awkward phone calls from family members whom you barely speak to.
"Hey, happy birthday!"
-awkward silence because you have nothing to talk about-
2. Facebook notifications. 99% of the people writing on my wall don't actually care about my birthday, so...
3. Standing awkwardly while everyone sings Happy Birthday. No matter how hard I try to make it not awkward, it's still awkward.
4. Opening gifts I don't like in front of people. I know that it's the thought that counts, and I really appreciate the fact that people go out of their way to buy me gifts for my birthday, but I'm absolutely horrible at hiding the fact that I don't like a gift. You can immediately tell from the look on my face whether or not I like a gift, so I really don't like opening them in front of people. Saves everyone a lot of awkward.
5. The classic: "I can't believe you're -insert age here-! I remember when you were this big!" I never know what to say to this so my default reaction is an awkward smile, a shrug, and a nervous laugh. Works every time.

I'm sure there are more things I could add to each list, but I honestly can't think of anything else at the moment. Oh well. I hope you enjoyed this post and to anyone else celebrating their birthday today, Happy Birthday!

<3 Alex

Photo by Indea


what to bring to college:

precisely a year ago, i was counting down the days before i headed off to college. the whole idea of college was so overwhelming -- living alone for the first time, in a new city, with so many new people and classes and precious moments of life just waiting to be experienced.

i spent hours scouring the internet for lists of things to bring to college. and you have the internet, too, so you can do that on your own. some colleges even provide their own suggestions, with all the basic things, but i thought i would compile my own list of things i brought -- and more importantly, things i didn't realize until later that i needed. 

  1. mini stapler (super handy because you can bring it everywhere and all the cool kids will ask to borrow it)
  2. mini colored pencils/colorful pens (so you can take exciting notes! i got my little set of colored pencils at the gift shop of an art museum and it's the perfect size to fit in my pencil case.)
  3. printer paper/notepad (everyone takes notes differently, but i take a sheet of printer paper and lay it on top of a legal pad so i can still see through the paper to the lines so they can guide me so i don’t write all lopsided but i still have the flexibility of line-less paper. you might prefer spiral notebooks or some other way of taking notes, so it's up to you!)
  4. binders and dividers
  5. a laptop & case
  6. big tote bag (big enough for your computer + other necessities, and also make sure the straps are long enough to fit around your shoulder when you’re wearing a big winter coat because that can get awk) (or a backpack if that’s how you roll -- if i have to carry lots of books i use my backpack)
  7. hole puncher
  8. sharpies (also good for labeling your food if you have a communal fridge)
  9. envelopes and stamps
  10. reinforcers (those little white donut-shaped stickers you can put in the holes in paper in case they rip out of your binder) (can also be used as tape at the end of the semester when you are too lazy to buy actual tape) (classynottrashy)

  1. fan (especially if your dorm does not have air conditioning!)
  2. surge protector/extension cord (especially if you are like me and you rearrange all your furniture so the outlets are all in awkward places and you don’t want to crawl under your bed/desk/behind your dresser to plug things in)
  3. hamper and laundry detergent
  4. flashlight
  5. big plastic bins and other containers (they make moving in and out way way easier!! and you can store things under your bed)
  6. pictures and things from home
  7. lamps
  8. basic medicines (advil, sudafed, pepto bismol, whatever) + band-aids
  9. shower shoes (plastic flip flops from old navy are nice)
  10. bathrobe (to go from your room to the bathroom, or you can just wrap yourself in a towel)
  11. shower caddy (plastic thing to hold all your shampoo and stuff — make sure it has holes in the bottom so it will drain)
  12. sheets (twin extra-long for most colleges) and mattress pad
  13. utility-ish things like extra light bulbs and batteries
  14. command hooks (i have one by my door where i hang my keys, and others next to my mirror for necklaces)
  15. velcro or double sided tape or sticky tack
  16. hangers
  17. calendar/dry erase board/bulletin board

  1. clothespins or binder clips (to hold bags of noms closed)
  2. cups/plates/mugs/silverware/napkins
  3. ziploc bags
  4. water filter
  5. basic foods (stuff like oil and salt and butter that you always assume you have in your house at home but then you realize you actually need to buy them)
  6. basic cooking things (pots and pans, measuring cups, can opener, spatula, etc.)

  1. wristlet (vera bradley has some nice ones, they are very very convenient because a lot of times you will just need to have your keys and phone and wallet together)
  2. a good umbrella and/or raincoat
  3. earmuffs and scarves and gloves etc etc (if you are going to school in the tundra like i do)
  4. this isn’t really a thing to buy but if you have subscriptions to magazines (j.crew and anthropologie catalogs whatup) make sure to change the address to your address at school
  5. if you will be at school in a big city with public transportation, get a charliecard/smarttrip card/whatever they call them in your city because a lot of times they are cheaper than individual tickets.

this list depends a lot on your school -- for example, my dorm lets us check out vacuum cleaners but you might need to buy your own -- so see if your school has a list of things you should buy. and if you don’t want to bring everything at once or if you forget something you can always go to target after school starts! don't stress out too much about any of it -- you'll figure everything out. :) 

good luck to all my '16s! 

<3 maria
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