When twilight drops her curtain down / and pins it with a star / remember that you have a friend / though she may wander far.

I am not a fan of endings. I let myself wallow in their bittersweetness, mostly focusing on the bitter parts, the sad parts. This weekend marked a pretty significant ending for me – I moved out of my apartment, saying goodbye to my three best friends. I understand “goodbye” is probably not the most appropriate word since I will definitely be seeing their angelic, luminous faces again, probably even in the near future, but it really felt like an end. I mean, I can still sit on the couch and watch episode after episode of Skins, but I can’t look over and see O eating popcorn from the “trough” (a really big bowl – we have a flair for nicknaming things). I can cook myself dinner, but I won’t see L attempting to cool off by standing in the fridge while holding a very important phone conversation with her mother. And I can build a fort, but E won’t be sitting inside eating her super weird combination of fruity and minty ice cream flavors (and I won’t have her giant fort-building blanket, so there’s that too).

The paragraph above represents my usual train of thought: something awesome was happening, and now it’s not happening, tears. Oddly enough, I have recently come to the conclusion that this attitude is not helpful and makes me very susceptible to the drab weightiness of melancholia, so I am in the process of changing it. Instead of resenting time for passing too quickly, I am giving gratitude a shot. I got nine splendid months with these girls. My life rocks.

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I’ve always been a huge proponent for being friends with people who inspire you to be a better person, and somehow I have always been lucky enough to find the people who are that for me. I don’t know what I did to deserve the kind of friend who will come into my room and bury me in a hug when I’ve been acting immature, or the kind of friend who will invest herself entirely in my petty problems when she has her own to deal with – but these are the girls I have been living with. We went through breakups and deaths and disappointments and sicknesses, and no one ever got lazy with the love they were willing to pour out. Pretty beautiful.

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This is O. She kind of beat me to blogging about this, but at this point she’s probably used to being copied by me (at least shoe-wise). She is sweet and sassy, my favorite combination. An urban girl, but also a frequent forest-dweller, and the unrivaled pro when it comes to busing around the city. We’ve been attached at the hip since September, and her hip is one which I very much enjoy being attached to. If you ever need someone to play retro Maroon 5 for you while getting ready in the morning, O is your girl. I love her.

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This is L. She is going to be a nurse, and I always tell her I trust her enough to give me an appendectomy. She gives nothing short of her best ever, even when she’s writing essays about vampire romance novels that she vehemently hates. There are very few people who are more enjoyable TV-watching partners – she yells at the overly picky couples on House Hunters, and curls up in a nervous ball whenever someone gets kidnapped on the Vampire Diaries. She’s studious, but man does she frolick up a storm when you stick her outside on a gorgeous day. I love her.

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This is E. We’ve practically been married since we started college two years ago. About a week ago, I told her, “ya know, not only has having you around greatly improved my life, but it has also greatly improved my eyebrows,” and it’s true – the girl has given me eyebrow envy. She enjoys old Disney Channel movies and being adventurous in all of her cooking endeavors. A Gryffindor through and through. Always ready to jump into impromptu dance parties or conversations in a variety of foreign accents. I love her.

It has been an incredible year with these ladies and – while I’m very sad it’s over and we are going our separate ways – I am so thankful for the walks and the talks and the nightly popcorn sessions. To quote a YA novelist whose books I’ve never read: “growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.” Aaaand for the sake of sentimentality, I will throw it back to our first group selfie:

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Thank you guys for making my life beautiful.


How to be a preteen heartbreaker

Let’s start this post by rewinding roughly a decade to 2004 or 2005. Inflatable furniture, mp3 players, patchwork denim boots? Sounds about right.

I was that sweet little eleven-year-old who would sit in her window at night and smilingly dream about love, imagining myself in whatever a girl of that age considers a relationship to be, drifting off into well-constructed fantasies of pecks on the cheek and “dates” to see the newest Harry Potter movie. How adorable, right? Ha, au contraire.

Despite indulging myself in those utterly ridiculous crushes of yesterdecade (I just coined a new word, take that Shakespeare), I was kind of a menace when it came to actually interacting with boys, especially those boys whose names were spelled backward in my diary for the purpose of secrecy. I would seriously spend my time translating really stupid insults into Italian, Spanish, and French, and I would yell them across the playground without provocation. At such an early age, I exhibited levels of sass that will probably never be seen again in my lifetime, and the majority of it was directed at whomever was unfortunate enough to be my crush of the hour. Obviously I have chilled out a little bit in the past nine or ten years, but I have always wondered why I adopted such an unappealing attitude that (frankly) carried on into middle school. Stomp stomp stomp I HATE YOU (you’re really cute though)

Well, consider the mystery solved. A few nights ago, spurred by nostalgia, I pulled out my old iPod and put it on shuffle – it was mostly just a lot of Relient k from my freshman year of high school, but a few songs made me feel eleven again. First of all, the anthem of my preteenhood:

And then a close second:

And finally, these boys trying to look like the Beatles:

So, these three songs basically sum up 2004-2007 for me. Yes, they stuck around for awhile. And maybe I still think “Hey Juliet” is extremely catchy. But that’s beside the point…

The reason I was playing hard-to-get before I even knew what it was? Radio Disney, my friends. I thought Skye Sweetnam was such a badass, she’s the reason I bought a plaid skirt with a ludicrously large safety pin on it. “Can’t you see I want you by the way I push you away? YEAH” I would sing as I danced around my bedroom, doing some pretty hardcore headbanging. I hadn’t the faintest clue as to the meaning of “reverse psychology,” but if Skye Sweetnam was using it in her day-to-day life, it was good enough for me. And the boys of LMNT and the Click 5 liked being dragged around by the likes of us – or so they said. I actually have a sort of conspiracy theory about this, with like target demographics of boy bands and parents wanting to prevent their preteen girls from dating, etc., but I don’t want this blog post to last forever because I’m nice.

Anyway, it is now clear to me that my hilarious (and rather unfruitful) approach to flirting was heavily influenced by the idea of having “she’s cold and she’s cruel, but she knows what she’s doing” sung about me someday. I was just so proud to not be giggly and outwardly-fawning, abstaining from playground chases and “going out.” And to this day, I kind of think… yeah, you go, little Cierra. You little punk-ass heartbreaker.

Just thought it was amusing. You can return to 2014 now.

My Love for Buses, Explained

It’s been one of those months where I have been at a total creative standstill – a slump, if you will. My days are spent trying to figure out what to do with myself, and my nights are spent moping in defeat because I never actually figured out what to do with myself during the day. To be fair, this isn’t every day of my life, but it’s started to take up a big chunk, and despite my being happy, I’ve been drawing blanks when it comes to conveying that happiness.

For a long time, I thought there was no immediate cure for this unfortunate lack of inspiration, but I have made a very important discovery in the past year: bus rides. I’m talking morning or mid-afternoon, long, scenic bus rides; I would never advise anyone to hop on around five on a weekday, when everyone is forced to play a not-fun game called “how many tired and irritated people can we squeeze onto the 67?” But speeding along the freeway on a bus, catching glimpses of city skylines between the passing semis, that is where I find the gears in my brain beginning to cheerfully whir again.

One of my most developed skills is staring out of windows, so I put that to good use, obviously. No matter where I am, I’m never at a loss for things to look at. Another thing I’m very good at is listening to music, and for bus rides I usually choose to focus on one album – Babel by Mumford & Sons, Achtung Baby by U2, you get the idea. This is one of the few times I have the time and/or energy to give the album, as a whole, the attention it deserves. Maybe it’s a bizarre hobby to admit to having, but analyzing lyrics is flippin’ delightful and I’m gonna do it till the day I die. So basically, sass aside, I have found my happy place and it is on public transportation. Who would have guessed? NOT CIERRA.

Huge thanks to Chimp, my roomie and best friend, for letting me stay at her house, eat her food, and use her nail polish. And for giving me an excuse to ride the bus, making me feel a little more inspired than I was before this weekend. I think I’m back on the up and up now.

D'you know what else is inspiring? Harry Potter. Which must be accompanied by homemade butterbeer, of course.

D’you know what else is inspiring? Harry Potter. Which must be accompanied by homemade butterbeer, of course.

On the subject of lazy rivers…

Don't you feel like you're here drinking tea with me? Isn't it nice?

Don’t you feel like you’re here drinking tea with me? Isn’t it nice?

I decided to ditch the comfort of my bed today, instead electing to sit at Starbucks with a venti iced green tea and a chocolate croissant just waiting to be voraciously consumed. Yes, this is a really half-assed attempt to get the creative part of my brain to come out of hiding. But honestly I think it’s afraid of the overly garrulous women’s book club gabbing in the corner. So we will see how this goes.

Long story short, I just got back from a very fun and very humid trip to the one and only Orlando, Florida. I am jet-lagged. I am tired. I am recovering from an unfortunate sunburn. But I also have many a tale to tell.

First off, let’s have a chat about lazy rivers. Before this trip, my feelings in regards to lazy rivers were, you know, normal… neutral. I mean, they’re cool if you’re lazy and you have an innertube and there aren’t too many punks splashing around. But within the first day of floating along the river’s gentle currents, I was smacked in the sunburned face with a very telling epiphany: lazy rivers were created to aid stalker-type people. Really. Let that sink in. I don’t mean the dangerous, illegal type of stalking, but rather stalking of a flirtatious nature. Lazy rivers make it so incredibly easy to follow people around – in a normal pool, it is more justifiable to accuse people. Like, hey, you are purposely following me around this unmoving water. In a lazy river, however, you can’t say that. Literally everyone is going in the same direction at the same speed, at least generally speaking. Also, it is possible to touch people and be like, oops, sorry, I flail when I swim. Somebody’s (my) butt is bound to be swatted in a lazy river.

Here she is, the famous/infamous lazy river.

Here she is, the famous/infamous lazy river.

As you would probably expect, my family did the whole Disney World thing again. The first day, we went to the Magic Kingdom, which is as crowded as a theme park can possibly get. For some reason, my first thought that morning was “I’m just gonna be chill today, I’m not going to get pissed off at anybody.” Maybe I thought that because I know I’m a pretty irritable, albeit outwardly tolerant, person… but I’m willing to consider alternate reasons. Anyway, despite having many many happy moments involving castles, Peter Pan, and outer space, my brain was in rage mode that day. Does anyone else internally flip out at the people around them in line for no apparent reason? Like, a lady will be taking a picture of Scuttle from the Little Mermaid with her iPad, and I just silent-scream oh my god you look ridiculous GET OUT. I don’t know. I probably need to start meditating eight times a day or something.

We stayed at a very nice hotel, the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, which is sort of a mouthful so I nicknamed it the JDubs. My sister chose it because a) she is unhealthily obsessed with lazy rivers, and b) the hotel’s silhouette vaguely resembles that of Atlantis, which is her dream vacation destination (thanks a lot, Mary-Kate and Ashley). The lobby is grand and beautiful and it smells very nice, and our room was unexpectedly huge, with two balconies looking out over the expansive grounds of the resort. It was sort of ridiculous, but in the best way. There was much to be explored, and rest assured, we explored it all. Including the Ritz-Carlton next door. “Unnecessarily lavish” is the only descriptor I have for that establishment.

Lastly, I will try to bring some element of conciseness to this post with some “miscellaneous things I just can’t not talk about, also sorry for the double negative”:

  • I love squirrels and little lizards, both of which are abundant in Florida.
  • To Hugo from the French crepe stand: vous avez les yeux gorgeuous, and you can make me crepes ANYTIME.
  • I’m sorry to say it, but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter really wasn’t built for effective crowd flow.
  • The Beast’s castle in New Fantasyland is disappointingly dinky.
  • … But Prince Eric’s castle is superb and I’d like to live there. Preferably with Prince Eric, and also can I have Ariel’s hair?
  • If you want to irreversibly mess your hair up, riding in a convertible on the freeway is certainly the way to do it.
  • 80’s music is appropriate for every occasion.
  • Lots of Scottish people vacation in Orlando. Who would have guessed? Not me, obviously.
  • Sometimes religious chanting parades take place in lazy rivers. I also would not have guessed this.
  • There was a boy in the pool who kept throwing a ball at my sister every time she floated by. Really takes me back to the second grade, when flirting involved tossing rocks in your crush’s general direction. How suave of you, pool boy.
  • I go into a total depressed slump when I have to leave Epcot.
  • The only way to survive six-hour plane rides is to watch Friends and stare out the window with wonder in your eyes.

Alright, gang. I’m running low on tea and I have nothing left to ramble about. Sounds like this blog post is over.

The Dreaded Flashback Episode

I know this is probably way more exciting for me than anyone else, but guys… I’ve now been settled in this cozy little corner of the interwebs for exactly a year. In other words, it’s my first anniversary. Or first birthday. You can choose.

As you can probably see, I have made a few changes in honor of this. My ‘about’ page no longer sarcastically likens me to the Boy Who Lived, but rather Chandler Bing (thought it was slightly more accurate); my background and color scheme have suddenly become a lot girlier; and, ladies and gentlemen, for your convenience I have made it much easier to subscribe to my scatterbrained postings by placing a nice little button over yonder. >

In true Cierra fashion, I am still deciding if I actually like these changes. So bear with me.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to whine about my lack of confidence in blog design. What I’m going to do here is something really cheesy, something long-running TV shows are known to do when the writers are too lazy to come up with new material. Fasten your seatbelts, this is about to be a FLASHBACK EPISODE.

Try to contain your excitement, please. (thank you, tumblr, for this gem)

Try to contain your excitement, please. (thank you, tumblr, for this gem)

You may remember I started this blog a year ago with my Goals for Summer, and I thought it might make sense to finally give an update, considering I never did. Um, I never taught myself how to talk like Bill Cosby. My impressions of him elicit only the weakest sympathy laughs. I also definitely did not read fifteen books, a failure I would attribute to the beautiful evil that is the internet. Aaaand ambidextrosity did not happen. What a surprise. But HEY, I wasn’t entirely unsuccessful. I did hang out with people like I said I would. #introvertprobs

God I hate myself for using hashtags. Oh well.

Over the past year, I have documented many important moments in my life, such as my victorious Defeat of the Crane Flies – I even typed out excerpts from my sixth grade diary, but I didn’t tell you I wrote all of my crushes’ names backwards in fear of being found out. Needless to say, not a very effective tactic. I shared all of my I’ve-been-at-college-for-a-week-so-naturally-I-know-everything wisdom with you, and I sincerely hope you have enough brain space left because I’m planning on hitting you with a (mildly) mind-blowing part II sometime in the next couple weeks. You’ve been warned.

Now I need to address something I find to be equal parts hilarious and ridiculous. Back in December, I briefly mentioned a fat lip. Chace Crawford’s fat lip, to be more precise. Gossip Girl had just ended and I was wallowing in sadness (my favorite character turned out to be an asshole) and self-disgust (I still can’t believe I love that show), so of course I had to blog about it. Oddly enough, the mystery of Mr. Crawford’s lip brought in unprecedented amounts of traffic to my blog. So I mentioned it againWhoa, explosion. I am not exaggerating when I say nearly 23,000 of my 30,000 site views have been on that exact post. I am also not exaggerating when I say the aforementioned post is the top result in most Google searches having to do with the poor guy’s “injury.” So in summary, in the span of one year, I have become the most-trusted authority on Carrie Underwood’s ex-boyfriend’s lips. You can hit me up if you want, Chace. I know your lips.

In all seriousness, though, I am so happy I started this last June. I love just sitting down in my cute little chair and racing my fingers over the keys, and it means so much to me that even one person would be willing to read about my mishaps and musings, let alone enjoy them. So really all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you – whether you’ve been tagging along since the beginning, or this is the first post of mine you’ve ever read. Heaps upon heaps of gratitude. For real.