City Of Misfits

“Over on sixth street they call me capt’n,” he tells me with a slow chuckle that pushes through crooked, yellow teeth.  Here I was shaking hands with a man whose namesake comes from people on a street that I identified in my early teens as “the coolest place ever,” though it will still be years before I can enjoy a glimpse of the night life that takes over those blocks. Captain was a panhandler. As one of his dark hands shook mine the other held a cup, in which you could hear the quiet jingle of dimes colliding with each other. He rolled down the street in his wheelchair and army green pants and despite the fact that you’re not supposed to talk to strangers, I couldn’t help myself.

Let’s go back for a moment. I’m Sarah from the Spring Branch area in the hill country of Texas above San Antonio. While this was no tiny town, I was still a big fish, in a small pond. President/editor/leader of several groups on campus, fourth in my class, accepted into an Ivy League university, my name and voice reverberated with authority through the halls of my high school. Thus the culture shock of coming to such a melting pot, only instead of melting I stuck to the wall watching everyone else dive in. Austin made me feel a discreet as the “animalecules” visible seen only under a microscope.
Fast forward back to today. I woke up before light, ate a cliff bar, tried to do some laundry (emphasis on the word tried) then headed out for school for what I knew would be a busy day. With four best friends in different cities, I was getting around to the idea of putting myself out there. You know, more than awkward glances, nods, and small talk. Don’t get me started on small talk. Anyways, I’m applying to be a staff member for the Daily Texan. A dream of a publication and tucked in a basement that I dream of belonging to.  Today was my tryout date, which entails going out, taking photos, doing an assignment, writing caption, etc.
As I listen to my Latin American biology teacher repeat, “Bacteria have no sexss.” Spraying around the “S” sound as you would water out of a hose. (The class laughed of course. Nothing draws the attention of college kids to mitosis and binary fission like the word sex spewed at you by a short balding man.) I imagined four years time going by. All the times I would pass the Tower. The friends I would hopefully get to make. The classes I would love and hate. The nights I’d stay up late studying. In my mind it all went so fast. I was already trying to catch the time through the gaps between my fingers.
After my second and last class of the day I discovered my bike was stuck, some brake malfunction. I couldn’t move the tires no matter how hard I tried. This was turning to be quite the off day (broken bike, broken washing machine, oh, and did I mention I dropped a glass bottle that shattered in The Daily Texan work center. Smooth. moves.) Despite all this should be negative stuff happening, I managed to push it all aside and focus on my tryouts. Something I’m usually not good at. I went to the Long Center, took photos, chatted up about an event, met this guy who left Seattle and politics to do nonprofit work, and met a 200-year-old violin from Germany. I mean maybe my day wasn’t going perfect, but for once I wasn’t having an anxiety attack. I was smiling like, the whole time, even though I was drenched in sweat, had walked miles in the heat, and well, everything else that happened.

I may not be the first to call it this but Austin truly is a city for everyone. It’s a land of mistfits, or maybe just a place with bunch of different people that try to change the world in different ways. Down South Congress I watched a gay pride banner wave in the sky in view of our prestigious capital building where Rick Perry slams hard firsts and soft politics about gay marriage and women’s rights. I watched a man named Mikey from San Diego play his guitar to raise funds to go back home, while I try and find unique images to turn in for my tryouts. I gave him a dollar, and he hoped that I found whatever I was looking for. I hoped so too. Here is a city for dreamers, and the crestfallen. Of Cowboy boots and shoeless movements. Anyone who belonged anywhere could belong here (that is if you can take the 100+ heat). “Don’t take a photo of me I’m a convict,” said a big man with the name “Don” spelled out on the uniform as he cut another gentleman’s hair. He laughed at my belief. Maybe my observations and wonderings, and shy photo-taking skills give away that I am indeed romantically gullible, but I don’t mind. I’m ready to experience and learn what this city has to teach me.

For my first week in Austin I lamented over my shyness, my major (which I changed), my insignificance, and the concern that I would never find my place in this city. Maybe it was people watching, talking to strangers, and photographing a homeless man that made me realize that I don’t really care about that anymore. I just want to do what makes me happy.
“Capt’n” and I chatted for a few minutes. He shook his cup in my direction and I dug in my pocket for my last dollar bill, never mind the fact that I am a college student and money is already tight. He continued his story. Captain had lost his home in 2005 to hurricane Katrina. After that he came here to live with one of his four daughters. “I stay at her house, but it ain’t mine so I consider myself homeless.” He explains to me. I nod my head and ask if he wants to see the photos I took before we started talking. “That’s pretty good,” he smiles to me long enough for me to count the gaps between his aging teeth. Four. He confides that he’s got enough now to go get himself a beer. I can’t find it in me to blame his honesty. As I turn away he calls after me. “Sarah! It’s Sarah right?” I nod. “Good luck with your school thing!”

After submitting my photos with slightly more confidence, I head towards the bus in order to make the 3-mile voyage back home. My bike would stay locked up for the night until I could retrieve it the next day. I tried to silence the sound of my sunburned skin, aching feet, and worry, turning to the thoughts of all I had seen and heard today.
Diagonal from me sat a mustached woman talking about Bill Clinton, regulation, and a questioning a man about his shoe choice. The bus was quiet except the shuffle of feet and her boisterous voice. “It’s that regulation, and the banks are going - well what I mean to say…” She stumbled through her words, and while at first glance you could think she was a fool, the joke was on you; she had everyone enamored with her talk. Finally, I got off the bus, walked to my apartment, and looked back on my day with the delight of someone who won the lottery. All these people, all these experiences just in reach of my finger-tips, if I’m willing to stretch far enough and have faith that I will unearth the wonderful.

So, this story will continue. The story of my city. The ramblings of the stories found by a college student. Stories with too many details it takes an hour to figure out which ones are worth telling. For me, in this land, everyone is someone with a tale worth telling. This is no New York, or L.A. Austin is a city all it’s own. In it is me, and Mikey, and the mustached woman, and my future friends, and the men at the barber shop, and Captain, and The Daily Texan staff, and countless amazing people. Austin truly is an anomaly tucked away into the Lone Star state.

Welcome back to my blog. Look forward to more. xoxo. sj.  

(p.s-pardon any grammatical errors, the changing of different tenses, and over use of passive verbs. I wrote this very late at night.)


Let's Talk Vinyl


     Over the past month I've added three new vinyl albums to my collection. While it is still a small collection (and half of it is She & Him), seeing it grow and getting vinyls with my boyfriend has come to be one of my new favorite little hobbies. Now, why vinyl? I'm not super musically inclined, and though some claim the superiority of the sound quality on vinyl, I really can't tell the difference. I got my record player two years ago as a christmas present from my boyfriend (awesome boyfriend right??).  What I really love about it is the feeling I get listening to my record player. It's not quite so easy to skip tracks, and as accessible as most modern media devices, and I like that. I really focus on enjoying the music and whatever feeling the music gives off more than I do when I'm listening to music off of my computer. If you happen to be considering getting a record player I highly encourage you to do so. However, I don't want to just rush you into that. From my view, here are the pros and cons:

Pros: Vinyls usually come with a downloadable copy of the album so you get the record and the album for your mp3/ it just is cool and has a homey feel to it/ most of them are pretty portable so they can be moved around the house/you can find old records in addition to new ones you buy. It's always great finding awesome old records to add to the collection!

Cons: High initial cost. I recommend not buying a record player cheaper than 80 dollars otherwise the quality and its life expectancy is questionable/ you can't skip tracks very easily on most cheaper record players (though that's not a problem if you have one of the really nice, big expensive ones) so you kind of have to listen to the whole album which isn't bad if you like the whole album/ maintenance. Every once in a blue moon you need to clean your records and record player and maybe switch out the needle to keep it in optimal condition. 

   Well now that I've out in my two cents about vinyls I hope you enjoy this horrible quality and incredibly mediocre video me and my younger brother made :) 

         Much Love, Sarah Jasmine 


Summer Reading List Part One

As a request by several of my friends, I am posting a summer reading list of suggested readings from me. This is a two-part post. This first part is books I have read and am suggesting to you because they were fantastic. Part two will be books I haven’t read that I hope to get reading this summer.
Let me start off with, I love reading. I love, love reading. But I haven’t always loved reading. Honestly it wasn’t until just two years ago that I started reading for fun and not just for school. I picked up a Barbara Kingsolver book and something clicked. Now I couldn’t stop reading if I tried. I picked what I thought was a bit of a variety of books. I love nonfiction and fiction, and from different age and gender perspectives. I loved all these books and I highly suggest you pick up at least one of these this summer.
1-                   If you don’t feel like reading any of the other books at least read this. I have never met a person who has read this and not liked it. John Green is one of my all time favorite authors and writes great books. This New York Times best seller is sure to make everyone laugh and cry and fall in love with its very quotable nature. AND, a movie is coming out soon so make sure you read it before the plot is spoiled by Hollywood! A little background, it’s about two cancer kids that fall in love, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about infinity. Just read.
2-                   Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris is a hilarious and light summer read. It’s compiled of true short stories about his life and it is a great book to read for a bit, set down, and come back to later for more hilariousness. If you want something fun, but with a layer of depth, and great writing, then read this. Warning, it is a bit adult.
3-                   The Glass Castle is a biography written by Jeanette Walls that will steal your heart. It’s about her childhood up to young adulthood and it is the most inspiring biography I’ve ever read. If you want a story that says nothing is impossible no matter where you come from, this is it. I highly recommend this to everyone. No matter who you are, this book will change your attitude. It’s soo good I feel like reading some parts… hold on….
4-                   Okay back to fiction. Barbara Kingsolver is hands-down my favorite author. No competition. I encourage you to look up some of her other books. She has many, and I can tell you that I’ve read six now and they are all phenomenal. She has both fiction and nonfiction, but I chose this book because I read it last summer and compared to her other novels I think this was a good summer read. Animal Dreams is about a woman who is coming back home and trying to figure out where she belongs, and reconciling her past with her future. The imagery and the writing is just beautiful. Summer is the time of discovery and this book will really help you search all the parts of your heart.
5-                   Finally, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I started with a teen fiction, and I’ll end with one. This book is great to read right before school starts. Now I am sure that many of you have seen the movie (but the movie sucked compared to the book and the book is so much better and the movie didn’t even cover the most important stuff in the story!), but the book is even better. The main character, Charlie, is just entering high school and is trying to figure out where he fits in and if anyone notices him. Of course a lot of things happen, he makes some great friends, falls kind of in love (Emma Watson), and while the novel is called the “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” the book is laced with sad reasons why it’s not at all as perked as it seems to be a wallflower. So yeah, all those people who want to be wallflowers like Charlie just because they watched the movie are weird, because if you read this book you understand it’s not really that great at all.

That’s my list for you! Stick around for my next list. And also, thanks for dealing with my little rants. Feel free to leave your own opinions about these books or suggest other books!

Much Love, Sarah Jasmine


18 Thoughts...


This past month has been crazy. I turned 18, graduated high school, opened my retirement account. I mean, I'm basically an adult right? Well, I don't know about that, but I do have a few other thoughts about being 18... bear with me.  

 1. What can I do now? Nothing. Legally I really can’t do anything I couldn’t do before except smoke and own a credit card (the former ew gross and the latter is actually exciting don’t get me wrong), but all this time I thought I was going to idk transform into some super person that adults seem to make themselves out to be. Then I realized 17 year old me and 18 year old me do the exact same things. Yay.
  2. Taxes. What? why?  
  3. Since I’m not a teenager anymore I have to find another excuse for being grumpy that is not teen angst. How am I supposed to justify my temper tantrums now? (No, I’m not on my period.)
  4. When do people start respecting me?
  5. I’m so happy about turning 18 and graduating because I’m getting all this money in preparation for the poorest years of my life (wooo?). Too bad I don’t like spending money and am instead using all these cash prizes to open a retirement account.
  6. Can I still watch “clueless”?
  7. So you’re telling me I have to move out and go live with a stranger?
  9. I can actually start making my dreams come true and do things that feel like they matter towards my future. Really, I’m really happy about that.
  10. I don’t need parental consent for anything (mostly). It’s not really a big deal, but thinking about that is just like “whoa, I can sign my own papers now.”
  11. I’m going to have to start paying for things. Like my cell phone bill. Food. Toothpaste. And if you know me you understand I have expensive tastes in all of the above.
  12. Taylor Swift’s song 15 doesn’t apply to me anymore, and neither does her song 22. So dang it.
  13. I am as old as the movies Pocahontas and Jumanji.
  14. Now if I commit and felonies I go to the big jail. I guess it’s time to give up that life of crime.
  15. I still don’t drive. Is that a problem? Nah. (seriously I don’t even have a permit.)
  16. I can no longer appear on any reality T.V. show if I get pregnant. I’m taking this as a good thing…
  17. Still scared of monsters.
  18.  I am really only 18 years into my life, as mature as I’d like to think I am that’s really young sooo, hopefully I don’t have to do everything on my own yet. 

Much Love, Sarah Jasmine


5 Summer Essentials

Summer is here, along with the heat, the dry skin, the sunburn…ahhhh!!! But it doesn’t have to be all crisp and no fun. There are my five beauty essentials I have to help get you through this sweltering season looking naturally beautiful.
I’m a very simple and clean beauty kind of person, especially in the summer because I don’t like all those extra layers clogging my pores and making me sweat even more. All of this stuff is very lightweight and is meant to protect from the damages that come with summertime.

1.     Light, oil-free face lotion with SPF something. It’s a good idea to have a face lotion with sunscreen in it all year long, but especially in the summertime when you are bombarded by the sun. An oil-free moisturizer will prevent oily and clogged up skin, and brands like Neutrogena are good on those with sensitive skin like me.
2.     Essential Oils. Essential oils can me used for so many purposes. If you want a light body spray mix it with some water and spray away. Need to relax? Add some to your bath and enjoy. Essential oils are a base to so many good things you can make, or if you don’t feel like showering right away dab a little or spray some all over and smell fresh and clean without the musk of perfume.
3.     Natural/organic sunscreen. I know this is a no brainer, but really I cannot stress enough the importance of sunscreen. I know it’s the tanning era, but it’s not all glitz and glam when you’re covered in wrinkles or getting skin cancer (I don’t mean to sound rude but it’s true.) So put on sunscreen! You really don’t need higher than about 30 and as always opt for the natural ingredients that are better for sensitive skin and won’t clog your pores.
4.     Coconut oil? Yes, coconut oil. Our skin and hair goes through some nastiness during summer and can end up really dried out and malnourished. You can use coconut oil on your skin as an intense moisturizer mixed with some essential oil. Coconut oil can also be used as a hair mask for dry and damaged hair. In addition, coconut oil is a delicious and healthy substitute for cooking or can be used as salad dressing, and we all know that we are what we eat. Actually, beauty all starts with eating healthy. Remember that this summer when you reach for the junk food and sodas.
5.     Witch Hazel. Now if you’re around my age you may be wondering: what is this stuff? I didn’t know until about three weeks ago, so you’re not alone. Witch hazel is an old Native American plant that is, like many things on this list, multi-purposed. If you are like me and receive scrapes and bruises over the course of the summer, it’s a great natural cleanser for wounds and also soothes burns if you get sunburned. It also can be used as an astringent for the face to clean up dirt and oil at the end of a long summer day.

So there you are. The most important thing about summer, besides taking care of yourself, is of course to have fun. Look up beauty products, and recipes using these on your own and have a healthy beautiful summer!
Much love, Sarah Jasmine