Orphan Train by C. Baker Kline & remembering my Abuelita

Meet me at the park: Bookfessions of life and love.

Dear peeps,

I’ve been putting off writing this post for MONTHS. Like, HELLA monthssss. Mainly because I wasn’t ready to write it, but also because avoiding it was so much easier than revisiting unhappy moments and writing about them. I realize that this book review might not be the best place to post about such a personal loss, but it’s my blog and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want. This blog was created to be part journal and part book review, and I have to remember that when I’m doubting myself. So, if you’d prefer not to read through all the sad/emotional stuff, then you should probably skip this post and instead go straight to the store to buy Orphan Train because it really is a must-read.

I started reading Orphan Train a few days after my maternal grandmother passed away. My grandmother, the matriarch of our family and my last remaining…

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Orphan Train by C. Baker Kline & remembering my Abuelita

abuelita and baby bookfessionschica

abuelita and baby bookfessionschica

Dear peeps,

I’ve been putting off writing this post for MONTHS. Like, HELLA monthssss. Mainly because I wasn’t ready to write it, but also because avoiding it was so much easier than revisiting unhappy moments and writing about them. I realize that this book review might not be the best place to post about such a personal loss, but it’s my blog and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want. This blog was created to be part journal and part book review, and I have to remember that when I’m doubting myself. So, if you’d prefer not to read through all the sad/emotional stuff, then you should probably skip this post and instead go straight to the store to buy Orphan Train because it really is a must-read.

I started reading Orphan Train a few days after my maternal grandmother passed away. My grandmother, the matriarch of our family and my last remaining grandparent, passed away on January 9th, 2014. Her name was Rosa, but I called her Abuelita Grandota. She is survived by 8 children, 20 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren. We all miss her terribly. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical aspects of Orphan Train, which kept my interest throughout the book. However, it’s the passages I highlighted below that either reminded me of my grandmother or deeply resonated with me given the loss my family and I were going through. This post is part of my grieving process (albeit, a late one).

Thanks for understanding,



(started reading on 1/14/2014, finished reading on 1/19/2014)

BookfessionsChica’s Rating: ****

Event Date: February 13, 2014

BookfessionsChica’s Event Recap: At this event, Christina Baker Kline was introduced by Bay Area author Meg Waite Clayton! Ann Packer, also a Bay Area author,  was in the audience too! Apparently, they’re all friends and they were going to grab dinner afterwards. I was so geeked I couldn’t even handle it. A little part of me wanted to follow them to the restaurant and listen to what they gab about. I felt like a groupie who realizes her favorite singer’s bffs/fellow entertainers are also in the audience. Right off the bat, Christina announced that this event was not going to be your typical author reading. This event would be more of a behind the scenes look at Orphan Train. She’d prepared a PowerPoint presentation and showed us pictures of orphan trains from the Library of Congress and took us through the research and writing process.

Here are some of my notes from her event: Orphan trains were the single largest migration of children in U.S. history, numbering between 200,000 to 250,000 train riders. Research for the book included a visit to the Tenement Museum in New York. When she first started writing Orphan Train there were about 150 original train riders alive. Today, there are less than 25. The first train rider reunion was held in 1960 at a convent in Minnesota. Orphan trains ended in 1929 because train companies were no longer subsidizing the rides. Trains with babies were known as mercy trains. Christina’s three sons have all had some involvement with her book: Her 14 year old son’s book club read Orphan Train, her other son took an elective class in high school about train riders, and her college-age son attended an author event that she made him and his friends attend.

Can I tell you how much I loved this event? Seriously. Everything about it. From all the other authors in the audience, to her coming down each row to sign our books while her PowerPoint was getting set up, to changing up a traditional reading/signing event that resembled a behind the scenes look at her book. I felt like I was back in a classroom setting and it was great. I realized I miss being in an academic setting, learning and discussing.

Chair to chair signing service ;)

Chair to chair signing service 😉

The following description of Orphan Train was borrowed from barnesandnoble.com: Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear.

 The following are my favorite quotes/passages from Orphan Train:


I’ve come to think that’s what heaven is-a place in the memory of others where our best selves live on.

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: I’m not religious and I don’t know if heaven is a real place. But I do know that wherever my Abuelita is now, she is no longer suffering. I’ve watched movies where people have seen or been given signs by loved ones who have passed away. I am a non-believer of that kind of stuff. Mainly because I’ve never experienced it myself, and also because I’m the type of person that has to see it to believe it. Or I should say I WAS a non-believer of that stuff until recently. On the morning of Sunday, May 4th, my Abuelita came to me in a dream. How the dream started is kinda hazy, but I remember standing with two strangers in what appeared to be my grandmother’s backyard. These two individuals kept asking me questions regarding my grandmother and I kept insisting they speak with my mom because she was able to make decisions on my grandmother’s behalf. I walk them over to where my mom is and I notice three other people walking. Suddenly, the backyard disappears and the scene pans out into lush grass everywhere. It was too small to be a park. It felt kind of like the grounds of a castle. Green hills for days. I notice that this group of three includes my grandmother’s second oldest son and his wife. I can’t quite make out the other person walking between my aunt and uncle just yet. They are walking towards a large group of people having some sort of gathering/celebration. Everyone there is dressed up and there’s a tent for shade. I start walking towards my aunt and uncle, excited to see them since we don’t see them often. I’m wondering what’s brought them here, when I finally get my first look at the other person with them. I do a double take, look away, and look again a third time. The other person with my aunt and uncle is my grandmother. She’s smiling. She’s wearing a skirt suit. Mustard with a black blouse (she always wore a skirt suit for special occasions). She’s standing and walking on her own. Something she hasn’t been able to do in years. She’s beautiful. She’s happy and looks so full of joy. I throw my arms around her, hard and probably too tight, and yell, “abuelita!” I remember thinking this isn’t possible, her being there. But she is. I hold her at arms length and ask her several times if it’s really her. I ask her if she has come back to be with us. She doesn’t answer, she just smiles with so much joy in her face that it confuses me, but also makes me hopeful. I still don’t let go of her because I’m afraid if I let go she’ll disappear. I tell her over and over how much we love her and that we miss her so so much. She continues to smile and laugh, not saying anything. Then the dream ends and I wake up crying.

I believe my Abuelita came back to me in that dream to let me know she’s no longer suffering, and that she knows we miss her and have her in our memories.

my beautiful abuelita.

my beautiful abuelita.

Spruce Harbor, Maine, 2011

Mr. Reed tells students they have to interview someone-a mother or father or grandparent-about their own portages, the moments in their lives when they’ve had to take a journey, literal or metaphorical. They’ll use tape recorders and conduct what he calls “oral histories,” asking the personal questions, transcribing the answers, and putting it together in chronological order as a narrative p. 131

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: When I was 19, I wrote an oral history paper about my Abuelita for a Mexican American Culture class I took. I’m pretty good at taking notes, but I didn’t want to miss any part of the interview when it came time to transcribe, so I went out and bought a voice recorder to document the interview. I learned so much about her that I had never known and was able to put together a family tree. Needless to say, I received an A+ on the paper.

The day after my grandmother’s passing, I decided to look for the oral history paper. I’m kind of a packrat when it comes to holding on to academic papers, final exams, etc., so I knew I still had it somewhere. I had a mini-freak out when I couldn’t find it right away, thinking I had lost or misplaced it. I finally found it in the very back of my filing cabinet. After reading it, I gave it to my mom to read. When she was done she said it was beautiful and asked me if I’d be willing to read some of it at my grandmother’s funeral.

As I was putting together what I was going to say at my Abuelita’s funeral, I dug up memories that I hadn’t thought about in years, even things my mom had forgotten about.  Some were little memories, like things I associated with my grandmother and growing up. For example, a few houses down from my grandmother’s was a massive tree that we’d pass every day when she’d take me to run errands with her. The tree had these little red balls that I’d smush in my hands and step on for fun. I always looked forward to the smushing. It never got old. On May 10th, Mexican Mother’s Day, before going to the cemetery to take my Abuelita flowers, I drove to her old house and came across the big old tree. It’s still there and still has the little red balls (see below). It wasn’t until I uploaded the picture that I noticed the sunlight shining through the branches. It made me smile.

(insert caption)

childhood tree

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Divergent by Veronica Roth (Or How I’ll Always Be A Sorority Chick)

cheatsheet: 'cause no, I don't know every word in whole world

cheatsheet: ’cause no, I don’t know every word in the whole world

(started reading on 1/4/2014, finished reading on 1/7/2014)

BookfessionsChica’s Rating: ****

The following description of Divergent was borrowed from goodreads.com: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

slightly healed Hunger Games withdrawals.

Hunger Games withdrawals.

BookfessionsChica’s Recommendation: Please keep in mind that I’m still having massive withdrawals since Catching Fire came out in theaters. So when I saw the movie trailer for Divergent, I thought it might be the perfect series to help ease my pain. Divergent is kind of like Hunger Games in that they’re both set in dystopian societies. I often found myself comparing page after page to Hunger Games. Divergent temporarily filled the lit series void I’ve been carrying within me ever since Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight ended. It took me a good 100-ish pages for me to finally get into Divergent.  But it was the faction initiation process that kept my interest throughout the book because it reminded me so much of pledging my sorority in college. The two quotes/passages you’ll find below touch on this. Just a heads up: I finished reading Insurgent on 1/29/2014. I gave it two stars and you will not be seeing a book review for it. As of today, I still have not read the third book and don’t have plans to read it in the immediate future.

The following are my favorite quotes/passages from Divergent:

Chapter Six

“There is always at least one transfer who doesn’t make it to the compound,” says Eric, picking at his cuticles.
I will be a member. I will.
“…If you really are one of us, it won’t matter to you that you might fail. And if it does, you are a coward.”
…”You chose us,” he says. “Now we have to choose you.” p. 71

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: I attended a community college for two years before transferring to my alma mater, a private university in California. There were three things that I wanted to experience before graduating with my bachelors: 1. live on campus, 2. join a sorority, and 3. study abroad. As soon as I arrived on campus, I wasted no time in looking into sororities. I knew almost immediately which org I wanted to become a member of. I attended informationals and recruiting events to get to know more about this organization and its members. And when it was time to take the next step, becoming a pledge, I thought to myself: I WILL be a member of this organization and I’ll do whatever it takes. Now, I can’t give you details about anything I did or else I’d have to kill you, but I can tell you that my time, energy, sweat, and tears went into it. Unlike the process the Dauntless put their transfers through, where the mentality is “we choose you”, it was me that chose to be there every step of the way. In the end I became a member of a wonderful organization of strong, beautiful, intelligent women. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Chapter Seventeen

I know why my father said the Dauntless were a pack of madmen. He didn’t-couldn’t-understand the kind of camaraderie that forms only after you’ve all risked your lives together. p. 223

BookfessionsChica’s thoughts: Ah, sorority sisters. Where do I start? First of all, I’d like to make it clear that at no point during the pledge process was my life at risk. I was also never forced to do anything. Everything I did was of my own free will. And finally, I did not “pay for my friends” by being in a sorority. While I cannot speak on other orgs, I can tell you that once you join our organization, you are a sister for life. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on.

I’ve found that people who are not in a fraternity or sorority do not (and cannot) understand the bond that is formed with the people you pledge with, also known as pledge brothers/sisters. If you’re not familiar with Greek life, you should know that there is a slight distinction between sorority sisters and pledge sisters. The distinction being that your pledge sisters know exactly what you went through to become a sister, because they were literally at your side throughout the entire pledging process, from start to finish. The bond you have with your fellow pledge sisters is like no other. The thing about being pledge sisters is that you could be married or have kids, you could go months or years without talking, shit, you guys might not even be friends anymore, but it doesn’t matter because you will always be pledge sisters. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to romanticize being in a sorority. We’re still girls. And bitches be crazy when you put a bunch of chicks together. Even me. But we have each others back. Not in like a gang-y type of way, but in a sisterly way. I don’t know what I would do without my sisters.

My sorority and my sisters have been a part of my life for the last 10 years. Literally. The entirety of my 20s consist of memories with my sisters. My first legit college spring break was spent with 6 pledge sisters in Puerto Vallarta, my first party bus was with sisters, every birthday starting with my 20th has been celebrated with sisters, my first trip to Vegas was with sisters, my favorite travel buddies are sisters, I currently work in the same office with one of my pledge sisters. March 2014 marks my 10-year anniversary of being a member of my sorority and I still rep my letters proudly. Joining the sorority was one of the best decisions I ever made and I can’t imagine my 20s or my life without my sisters. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of our chapter. And it has just dawned on me that I’ve been a member of my sorority’s chapter for half of it’s existence. Fuck I’m old. Guess I’m now officially considered an OG.

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Amy Tan says she’ll be swimming with sharks 1.7.2014

valley of amazement

obligatory VoA pic

Date: January 7, 2014
Keepin’ It 100: I didn’t get a chance to read The Valley of Amazement prior to this event, but it currently sits at the top of my TBR stack. And I read The Joy Luck Club YEARS ago (obvies).
Recap: At this event, Amy Tan discussed her newest book, The Valley of Amazement. Her discussion included a brief slideshow with personal family photographs that served as some inspiration for this new book. She went on to provide us with more insight as to how this inspiration was sparked: While at an exhibit on Shanghai, she came across an illustration of young courtesans wearing very unique attire that she recognized from one of her grandmother’s photographs. Naturally, leaving Amy to wonder why her grandmother was wearing clothes that were only worn by courtesans during that time period. If you’re interested, you can find the full story and photographs on Amy Tan’s website. Let me clarify, The Valley of Amazement is not about Amy Tan’s grandmother or her family and it’s only speculation that her grandmother could have been a courtesan.


If you follow my blog you’ve seen the pictures I’ve posted of my books signed by authors. The majority of them are personalized, so you’ve obviously seen my name. I’ll just say it, I have the best name ever. It’s true, I do. I was named after my paternal grandfather, whom I never met. He passed away when my dad was young. When said properly, my name rolls off the tongue. People that aren’t from California or a Latin American country sometimes think of it as an “exotic” name. Atleast that’s what I’ve been told, although I still don’t quite understand what that means. My name is a little more common now than when I was growing up. There weren’t any other girls throughout middle school, high school, college, and grad school that had my name. My name means defender/helper of mankind. Not sure if I’m actually living up to all that, but the meaning adds to the legitness of my name.

The weird thing is that growing up I hated my name. I mean, HATED it. First of all, it’s a long ass name (NINE letters!) for a 5 year-old to learn to write in addition to the alphabet, numbers, and colors and all that other shit.  For that alone I should’ve been skipped from Kinder to 1st grade. Think about it. I had to write my name atleast once a day, five days a week, ever since I was in kindergarten. My last name is even longer, with ten letters. That’s a total of NINETEEN letters. Pretty sure that borders on some form of child abuse, Mom and Dad. I also dreaded the first day of school, roll call, and having a substitute teacher because they’d butcher my name in front of the entire class. Do you know how many times a teacher or sub read off ‘Alejandro’ from the attendance sheet? I’d raise my hand, cheeks burning, and once everyone realized I was actually a girl, I’d hear all kinds of giggling. It never failed. It was mortifying. Honestly though, I can’t lay all the blame on the teachers/subs because names on attendance sheets were usually listed as last name, first name. Which means my last name was sooooo long that my first name was always cut off, leaving them to assume there was an ‘O’ at the end of my name.

And how do I feel about my name now? I love my name. It’s part of my identity. It’s who I am and where I come from. It’s part of how I’ve come into my own as a Latina. I say my name proudly. Or as my coworker would say, I pronounce my name “hella ethnic”. Ha.

Anyway, there’s a reason why I’m slightly bragging about my name. When I attend book signing events, eight times out of ten the author compliments my name. It’s usually something like “what a beautiful name”, or “that’s so pretty”, or “how do you say your name?”. It really is an awesome ego boost. And that’s what happened the evening of Amy Tan’s event. It was my turn to have my book signed when she noticed the post-it with my name. She asked if my name was Spanish and where I was from. Once I answered ‘yes’, we shared some brief pleasantries in Spanish so she could practice. She said she’s currently learning Spanish because she’s planning a trip to Mexico where she is going to swim with sharks. Ha! Amy Tan is a G.

first book plate, ya'll!

first book plate, ya’ll!

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The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert/Final Book of 2013

moss and thangs.

moss and thangs.

(started reading on 12/6/2013, finished reading on 12/25/2013)

BookfessionsChica’s Rating: ***

BookfessionsChica’s Recommendation: My final book of 2013. I’ll admit that this book did have a bit of a slow start. But once it takes off and you get into it, you get caught up in Alma’s world, her love/knowledge of plants and moss. I was fascinated with Alma. This woman dedicates her ENTIRE life to one thing: botany. Literally. She spends YEARS  kneeling over moss. Just staring, observing, measuring, drawing, and checking the temperature of moss. I envy her. I do not see myself dedicating the rest of my life to my current profession.

The following description of The Signature of All Things was borrowed from barnesandnoble.com:The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert’s wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.

The following are my favorite quotes/passages from The Signature of All Things:

Chapter Five

The Swedes, at least, understood and shared the central beliefs of the Calvinist teachings: You are responsible for your own situation in life, you are most likely doomed, and the future is terribly grim. That was all comfortingly familiar to Beatrix. Better than any of the other religions, with their false, soft reassurances. p. 55

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: So, apparently I’m a Calvinist and I didn’t even know it.

Chapter Fifteen

…One does not wish to lose the fondness of people one admires by revealing too much of oneself. p. 228

She had read Boehme, thought she never admired him. Jacob Boehme was a sixteenth-century cobbler from Germany who had mystical visions about plants. Many people considered him an early botanist…
The old cobbler had believed in something he called “the signature of all things”- namely, that God had hidden clues for humanity’s betterment inside the design of every flower, leaf, fruit, and tree on earth. All the natural world was a divine code, Boehme claimed, containing proof of our Creator’s love. This is why so many medical plants resembled the diseases they were meant to cure, or the orgns they were able to treat. Basil, with its liver-shaped leaves, is the obvious ministration for ailments of the liver…Walnuts, shaped like brains, are helpful for headaches. p. 229

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to stumble upon when I’m reading a book is that little part that explains the title of the book. It doesn’t always happen. Some titles are self explanatory. Others, like this book (atleast for me), not so much. Anyway, it might be silly, but when I come across that passage I get super giddy and it puts a smile on my face.

Chapter Thirty-One

Alma sighed. This was quite a question. What did she believe?
“I believe that we are all transient,” she began. She thought for a while and added, “I believe that we are half-blind and full of errors. I believe that we understand very little, and what we do understand is mostly wrong. I believe that life cannot be survived-that is evident!- but if one is lucky, life can be endured for quite a long while. If one is both lucky and stubborn, life can sometimes even be enjoyed.” p. 496

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: (random note-to-self: make/start happiness jar).

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Drinking My Way Through 14 Dating Websites by Tiffany Peon

er, everyone's doin it. right?

er, everyone’s doin it. right?

(started reading on 12/11/2013, finished reading on 12/12/2013)

BookfessionsChica’s Rating: ** 1/2

The following description of Drinking My Way Through 14 Dating Websites was borrowed from goodreads.com: Sick of feeling heartbroken over her most recent breakup and underwhelmed by the rest of her life, Tiffany Peón decided to embark on a social experiment. Over the course of one year, she used fourteen different online dating sites including Craigslist, speed dating and The Atlasphere, a site for fans of Ayn Rand. Through drunken interactions with strangers, she learned the ins and outs of the online dating world and eventually found her way back to the relationship that started it all.

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: Tiffany Peon, you had me at your Intro. Well, technically it was the title and martini on the cover that sold me on the book. But in all seriousness, I kind of hated and liked this book, all at the same time. Bright side: I found the author to be very relatable. You know, from one single chick checking out and experiencing the online dating world to another. On the not-so bright side: This beezy ends up getting back with her ex (insert gag). Their breakup was the reason she started her online dating project in the first place, so when I started the book, I immediately thought to myself, ‘this is the type of ongoing motivation I need to keep me blogging on the regular!’ (See: Date of my last published post. Clearly, I’ve been lagging). But as I read on, I felt like crying instead of blogging. Basically, the fact that she got back with her ex left me with a very specific kind of hope that I prefer to do without. The ‘maybe my ex and I will get back together someday?’ kind of hope. Well, Tiffany, ef you.

Drinking My Way Through 14 Dating Websites is a super short and entertaining read. Also, it’s only available as an ebook. Hence, no page numbers in this book review, just chapters.

Below are my favorite quotes/passages from Drinking My Way Through 14 Dating Websites:

Can I Call You Sometime?

My project had a slower start than I’d anticipated. The first time I signed up for Match I was bombarded by winks, messages and a bunch of other stuff I still don’t understand that can happen to you on dating sites.

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: Around October, after not having much luck with eHarmony for MONTHS, I ended up stumbling across a LivingSocial deal for a 1-month Match.com membership for $15 bucks! With the combination of being a real sucker for bargains AND being Single As Fuck (SAF), I totally couldn’t pass up the deal. And although I was completely aware that every day that passed was another day that I was SAF, I still didn’t set up my Match profile right away. In fact, what gave my SAF-ass that extra little nudge to finally set up my profile was 1. Tiffany Peon (my profile went up 3 days after finishing this book) and 2. realizing that the coupon would be expiring at the end of December.

Also within a week of setting up my Match profile, a coworker convinced me to signed up for Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB). CMB is this free app that somehow links to your facebook account (with your permission, of course), then you invite your other single fb friends to sign up for CMB so that the app can pair you up with their mutual single friends/single extended network. Er, or something like that. But CMB only gives you one match per day. Which is cool if you don’t want to be overwhelmed with tons of potential suitors, but not so cool is you’re Single As Fuck, like me.

Anyway, back to Match…As soon as I finished setting up my profile, I was ready to dive in and start perusing potential dudes. Then I  immediately, I mean, IMMEDIATELY had a little baby anxiety attack due to all the ridiculous nonsense happening on my computer screen. Tiffany wasn’t playing when she mentions how she was bombarded. Match.com don’t fuck around. I mean, there are winks, there are emails, you can “like” someone, you can “favorite” someone, you receive daily matches which you can rate, and you can browse a gagillion profiles. And if THAT’S not enough, you can even receive instant messages from people who can see that you’re online (which I turned off hella quickly). I didn’t even know where to start because it was all so overwhelming.


…I left thinking about all the questions he had asked me about my type. I didn’t have any idea about my type. I have no physical type, and when I line up my exes the only real similarities I see are the negatives.
If I described my type by whom I’ve dated, rather than whom I think I want to date, it would go something like this:
I like a guy who says one thing, but really does the complete opposite. Being confused is just so hot.
Giant back tattoos. I am all about giant back tattoos.

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: This made me ask myself ‘what is BookfessionsChica’s type?’ Well, historically, my exes have all been Latino (mostly, Mexican/Mexican American), with lighter complexions (read: more like café con leche, than just café), and they’ve all had the following on their face: soul patch and/or goatee, and mustache. Hmm. Let’s see what else? They were all the oldest child in their family. Also, two of my three exes didn’t have a college degree. That’s pretty much the extent of the similarities they shared.

OKCupid and Me

It was because of OKCupid that I had my first one night stand.

BookfessionsChica’s Bookfession: I’ve never had a one night stand, but I’ve added it to my sexual bucket list.

Recovery began at that moment and four months later, when I was in the midst of all the online dating, I felt normal again. The only nagging feeling left lied in the idea that he was alive somewhere, living his life in the same city as me and that he had become a stranger.


It didn’t matter how many dates I’d been on, ninety percent of the time I dreaded going on them. One week I tried to push past the dread and turn myself into a lean, mean online dating machine. I went on three dates, three nights in a row.

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: By Tiffany Peon’s standards, I’m officially a serial dater. I’ve gone on three separate dates, three days in a row. One time I even went on two dates in one day. Ha, beat that, Tiffany!

I’d come a long way since date #1, and I’d learned that as great as it can be to have a filter in every interaction, in most of them it was easier to censor my quirkiness. I don’t want to end the night feeling like a weirdo, and since I was going on so many dates at that point, that sort of self-doubt could really wear on me. Once the mention of guinea pigs didn’t make Tim awkward, I felt comfortable to expose myself and tell him about the things that are major points in my life: things like the Spicy Special, about hating college, about that time Austin was temporarily paralyzed, and about how much I love Drake even though I know it’s lame.

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: I realized that when I started online dating I was more likely to geek out on a guy while talking about some of my favorite obsessions such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games,  Hello Kitty, and Beyoncé. And now? Not so much. I’m a little more reserved. Takes me just a tad longer to warm up to these strangers. For example, it’s been months since I’ve told a date about my Twinkies story. And it’s a GOOD story. Part of the reason is that the topic of Twinkies hasn’t come up in recent conversations. But how do you tell a complete stranger, that you’re meeting for the first time, and that you (hopefully) find attractive that on July 15, 2013 you called every single Target store within a 15-20 mile radius of your neighborhood (as well as one or two Wal-Mart’s and Safeway’s) to confirm if they received a shipment of Twinkies? Before I go on, you should know a few things: 1. I love Twinkies. 2. Next time you’re at a county fair, carnival, amusement park, or if you ever happen to be at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, make sure to try a deep fried Twinkie. That’s right. Deep fried. You won’t regret it. 3. In college one of my sorority sisters knew how much I loved my Twinkies that she bought me a legit ass Twinkie holder (see pic below). Coolest invention ever. 4. If you know your Hostess history, you know that Twinkies went on hiatus for a bit since the company went bankrupt. 5. Afterwards, another company purchased Hostess and dubbed the return of Twinkies “the greatest comeback in the history of ever.”

twinkie holder: so they don't get smushed!

twinkie holder: so they don’t get smooshed!

Back to the Twinkie story. After calling around all day from my cubicle at work for everyone to hear, I had no luck. But I finally hit the jackpot the next day after a few more phone calls! One of my local Target stores had just received a shipment that morning. By the time I called, they’d already restocked the shelves once! I begged them to put four boxes on hold for me until I got off of work. I rushed to Target after work and immediately went to the Twinkie aisle to see if I could snag some more boxes in addition to those I already had on hold. I kid you not, the shelves were bare and there were other people, besides myself, asking about Twinkies. I left that aisle with the biggest smile on my face to go and claim (and pay for) my prize at customer service. It was a good day.

like a boss.

like a boss.


We rarely, if ever, approach dating with a clean slate. Everyone walks through this world carrying the baggage of past relationshops. When someone has your heart, it doesnt really matter if they’re near or far; they are present in every conversation, date, and relationship you have until you find someone better. And in my experience, the feeling you get when you find someone better is so powerful that all the people from your past suddenly don’t matter because you know you’ve moved on.

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: Amen, sister.

BookfessionsChica’s Online Dating Facts & Figures:

Dating sites I’ve signed up for: 3

eHarmony (member since May 2013), Coffee Meets Bagel (member since Dec. 2013), and Match.com (member since Dec. 2013)

Sites that resulted in dates (to date):

eHarmony: 5

CMB: 2

Match.com: 6

Sites that resulted in a second, third, or fourth date:

eHarmony: 2

CMB: 1

Match.com: 1

How many times I’ve received flowers on a date: (Fellas, ya’ll don’t wanna step it up a little bit? I was just at Safeway and they sell a dozen tulips for $7.99. Just sayin’.)

Number of profiles I’ve come across where I realize I know the guy: 5 (what a small world!)

BookfessionsChica’s Online Dating Advice:

1. Make sure to turn off the automatic membership renewal button on each dating site! For eHarmony, it’s programmed to be on once you sign up, so you get a nice little reminder on your credit card statement notifying you that they’ve taken the liberty of extending your membership.

2. I consider myself to be a pretty good multitasker, but when it comes to online dating I’ve realized that I can’t juggle too much when it comes to how many guys I’m actively communicating with. There comes a point, either before or after the first date, that you start texting eachother. So I came up with my own labeling system to distinguish one guy from another. Here is how I saved them to my contacts on my phone:

Mark CMB SF (decode: Mark is his name, Coffee Meets Bagel is how we met, he’s from the city)

Aaron M Con Nino (decode: Aaron is his name, Match.com is how we met, con nino is Spanish for with child-he has a son)

Tony EH Chiro (decode: Tony is his name, we met on eHarmony, and he’s a chiropractor)

Dating is fucking exhausting.

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio

never judge a boy by his face.

never judge a boy by his face.

(started reading on 11/28/2013, finished reading on 12/6/2013)

BookfessionsChica’s Rating: ****
Book Babes Book Club’s December Selection
BookfessionsChica’s Recommendation: I really need to read more great YA books, like Wonder. It’s an awesome book club selection, not just because of the length (it’s a super quick and easy read), but also because of the discussion that it sparked regarding bullying, home schooling, children with special needs, and kids/children in general. There were only two things I didn’t like about this book. #1 was Julian, one of the bully characters in the book, who I hope gets his ass whooped when he gets to high school. And #2 it makes you stop and think about having children. Not so much the actual horrendous giving birth part, but the realities of how cruel children can be to one another. Like, what if your kid was the one getting bullied? Or what if you kid was the one doing the bullying?

On the lighter side, some the book club questions for Wonder also offered a quick break from the seriousness of our discussion. None of the Book Babes knew eachother in high school, so it was fun and hilarious to hear what everyone was like in high school. Some of us were nerdy and slutty (some of us still are) and some of us were mean girls (some of us still are). It was good times.

BOOKFESSION: I have never seen a Star Wars movie in my whole entire life. Don’t judge. And please stop looking at me like I’m a weirdo. Sorry, but I just don’t get what the whole craze is all about. I didn’t grow up watching Star Wars. And I kinda always saw it as a boy movie. And well, I’m a girl and stuff. Then I just grew up with that same mentality because nobody ever tied me down and forced me to watch it. So here I am a full-blown adult and I’ve never watched it. I have, however, seen Space Balls. That’s kinda the same thing, right? Ok, maybe not the same thing. But pretty damn close. Like, I should atleast get a few points for that. Anyway, I learned a little bit more about Star Wars as I reading Wonder because Auggie is a HUGE Star Wars fan. That is all.

The following description of Wonder was borrowed from goodreads.com: August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

Below are my favorite quotes/passages from Wonder:

Part One

The Performance Space

“What’s the deal with your face? I mean, were you in a fire or something?”
“Julian, that’s so rude!” said Charlotte.
“I’m not being rude,” said Julian, “I’m just asking a question. Mr. Tushman said we could ask questions if we wanted to.”
“Not rude questions like that,” said Charlotte. “Besides, he was born like that. Taht’s what Mr. Tushman said. You just weren’t listening.”
“I was so listening!” said Julian. “I just thought maybe he was in a fire, too.”
“Geez, Julian,” said Jack. “Just shut up.” p. 29

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: This is the moment I realized I loved Jack and hated Julian. I didn’t think I could hate a little boy, but I do. I really, really do.


I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks. p. 73

BookfessionsChica’s Thoughts: Halloween is Auggie’s favorite holiday because it’s the one time of year that he doesn’t have to be seen as or feel different, like he fits in, since all the other kids are also wearing costumes and masks.

Posted in Book Babes Book Club, Books of 2013 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment