Category Archives: Personal

Perfect Strangers

The night we fell apart, we were sitting at my table. I was working on a project, scrambling to finish it for critique the next day, unbearably tired and my stomach in vicious, relentless knots. You, with your doe eyes and heavy heart, were staring at me, wordless. All that could be heard was the Xacto-blade in my hand and the faint sounds of A Fine Frenzy chiming solemnly in the background. I asked you what you wanted. I asked if you wanted me anymore, if you could decide to continue loving me, or if your love was gone, my eyes barely leaving the task at hand, afraid to catch your gaze and read your response. I grew impatient by your silence, but remained calm. Your eyes lowered to your fumbling fingers, a sigh being released deeply into the quiet of my living room. More silence.

“I don’t know what I want. I’m scared that if I make a decision, it won’t be the right one…If we break it off, I know I’ll realize it was a mistake and it’ll be too late.”

It was my turn to sigh. I could feel my face getting hot, a tension building in my chest making it feel impossible to breathe. The shortness of my breath was making me weak but my feelings grew forceful.

“If you have doubt….” I paused, my head churning with exhaustion and hurt, “It’s over. I can’t be the only one who cares about us…”

A ringing in my ears became excruciating as I met eyes with you across that table. That same table we had grown our love, that same table we had sat at, flirting and exchanging quick kisses. The table that I would beg you to leave as I was cooking us dinner, smirking at you from the kitchen to join me, hoping that I’d feel you wrap your arms around me with that same sweetness you had given me countless times before. This time was different, however. You looked at me with eyes that had nothing left to give. Hands to yourself, you didn’t fight the doubt that had replaced what once was such a promising, mutual, deep-rooted and long established love. You put up no fight. After several unsuppressed tears and the realization of our separation had established itself, you departed hastily. And then I cried. I’m not exactly sure why I held back my tears while you were present. I think I wanted to be strong for you, no matter what your decision ended up being. But I cried for hours. I couldn’t sleep. Not for days, several weeks. Every single thing in my entire life reminded me of you and I could feel the heaviness of my broken heart and pounding headache pushing down on me. I wondered how long I could handle feeling so broken.

But now, we pass each other as perfect strangers. As if we didn’t spend three and a half years of our lives laying in your bed laughing at stupid television shows, exchanging loving glances at each other with or without the company of others as if we were the only one that the other could see, holding hands under the dinner table when we were out with your family, you knocking on my dorm window, my heart pounding at the excitement of seeing you again. As if we didn’t make late night food runs, giggling in the grocery store over silly things, as if we didn’t run to hold the door open for each other as a little game of who could be the most “gentlemanly”. As if you weren’t the only person I could see in a crowded room and the only eyes I’d want to meet, the only hand I wanted to hold, and the only heart I ever wanted to have. We pass each other like we were nothing more than co-humans living on this earth, close in proximity but barely aware of each other’s existence. As much as I don’t want you to be a stranger, I guess this is just how it has to be. Three years of love reduced to mere acquaintanceship.

Illuminating Our Perfection, or Purposeful Deception?

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I got an email the other day that had me thinking about the significance of makeup, especially in my life. She asked how I felt about the accusations that using makeup is a deceptive way that women represent themselves. I figured I’d respond to this publicly because I feel that it is essential to my readers to understand why I write what I write and the role that makeup plays for me personally.

Let’s start with a little personal history! I’ve gotten on a beauty kick lately more so than ever. I’m really loving experimenting with makeup and different products ever since I visited Ulta and later got an Ipsy subscription, which delivers new, varying beauty products every month for only $10, making it pretty much impossible for a girl like me to refuse. My love for using makeup has been a consistent love. I remember, as a young child, I used to carry around one of those caboodle carrying cases full of makeup and sit around with my friends and create “makeovers”. Sure, they probably weren’t as aesthetically pleasing then as they’d be now (I’ve learned at least some skills since those days), but even then I understood what makeup meant to me. I loved using it because makeup is artistic as well as purposeful.

I see so many comments on the pages, videos, and posts of beauty bloggers by men (and some women) saying that makeup is deceptive and that it hides one’s natural flaws, making the individual more attractive than they actually are, attracting individuals who apparently think they naturally look flawless. Ahh. Let’s get this straight here. Makeup enhances one’s beauty and gives the individual the ability to exemplify certain physical traits while toning down traits they see as less desirable or bothersome. That’s not deceptive. It’s something that we, as humans, do similarly with many things. We always want to put our best traits forward, whether it’s for a job interview, a first date, whichever. Makeup is something that allows women to accentuate their best physical features.

Some women, like myself, also use makeup as a way to conceal acne scars in order to be more comfortable and confident in their own skin and especially in face to face social situations. For me, I focus immensely on the base of the makeup look: the foundation. I have had severe acne for the majority of my young adult to adult life and it has left me with unsightly, discolored scars that I don’t always like to leave bare. It’s a sensitive thing for me, having others ask about the permanent marks that were left on my face from these years, so I find that knowing how to apply my makeup effectively gives me a major confidence boost. Others aren’t looking for scars, but rather social queues on my face, which is a nice change of pace. I could imagine many others apply makeup for the same reasons. They would rather reduce the distraction of little flaws and feel comfortable and confident in their own skin than go out, barefaced, knowing that the uncomfortableness will ultimately hinder them. I remember feeling like I was going to cry every time I’d look in the mirror and see how badly my skin had gotten. Makeup gives the individual the freedom to look glamorous and to feel beautiful, acne scars or not. It’s more so for the individual’s sake than for any outside force, meaning that the use of makeup isn’t as much for “deception” as many like to call it, but for the expression of illuminating one’s perceived best features in vibrant, inspired new ways, neutralizing the flaws we have that chip at our confidence.

Makeup is enjoyable for me. I love to be able to have a clean canvas to create new looks every day and to experiment with different color palettes. I can change my look to fit my outfit, my mood, anything I desire. I honestly think using makeup is as “deceptive” as a woman looking beautiful in nice clothes. Is that deception too, because she’s not spotlighting the bumps and rolls that are just a natural part of her figure, but finding pieces that illuminate her best assets?
Realistically speaking, how is makeup any more deceiving?
Why should I not feel comfortable in my own skin?

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Easier Now

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All of my life, I have struggled with the fear of becoming overweight again, because as a child, I suffered immensely from being the chubbier kid. I wasn’t confident, happy, or satisfied with my quality of life. This is not to say that if you are confident or happy at this size or any size, you shouldn’t be. I just know that, in my experience, I spent so much time, too much time, agonizing over how I could be different and how I could be better. I just couldn’t see the beauty in myself. Something destructive had stuck with me and had no intention of letting go. At such a young age, those kinds of feelings have a deep imprint on your soul. I know they did on mine. But this time around, at 21 years old, as I am not overweight but still trying to keep in shape and stay healthy, it’s easier. Everything seems….easier.

I’ve noticed the change. I’m not looking in the mirror as much, grabbing at the visible fat on my sides or tummy, or scowling at the figure that stands before me, disappointed by what I see. She’s a beautiful person and she has carried me through 21 years of life, 21 years of experience, growth, love, failure, and triumph. She is the portal in which I have navigated the plane of life and she is the woman I will be until the day I die. She will change, physically and mentally, as she moves forward, but there should be no reason why I should look upon her with judgment. Her body has been through injuries, sickness, heartache. She’s fought through loss, anxiety attacks, hurt. I no longer look upon her, the body that housed and loved me, like she is wrong and needs to be changed. I’m guiding her in the right direction, a healthier path and state of mind.

I’ve grown to adore this changed perspective towards my body. I’m not judging myself like I used to. I can look in the mirror, smile, and know that that smile is genuine. I do love myself, and I love my body. There will be times when I come down on the beautiful girl in the mirror, the one that looks back at me and reflects the life that I’ve been living and the experiences I’ve gathered, but I know that those times will be fleeting, and will not house themselves permanently within the corners of my mind, waiting for their next moment to swallow the spotlight. Self judgment is no longer welcome in my heart and I’m determined to keep it that way. From here on out, everything feels… easier.

xo Amanda Cramer

Mandirito.com

Final Thoughts of 2014

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Confronted with the past, we often stand down. We let it consume us, devour the current day and age with regrets of moments we can no longer change. Moments that have passed us.

I won’t stand down. I won’t cry, or regret, or reminisce about the “good ol’ days”. I won’t second guess myself or humor myself with a different outcome that could’ve potentially changed the course of my memories. Today is today, and holds its own potential.

There are moments in my past that I wish I would’ve appreciated then, as I cannot appreciate them in the same magnitude as my memories begin to fade and distort with time. What music was playing at that moment? Who was there? What were their facial expressions? Were they happy, hurt, longing, anxious? Do these little details even matter anymore?

They matter when you think back, but in the moment of the experience, you’re drawn to see the big picture. The details fade into the backdrop and become minuscule, only to arise to the surface in bits and pieces later on, often in unwelcome nostalgic spurts. The concepts are still alive and well and the meaning behind the memories of our past still stands but I’m choosing to pack up these boxes and dispose of the feelings that once gave me happiness but have lately weighed heavily upon my soul. I’ve been progressively releasing my attachment to these moments as they don’t serve my life positively anymore.

I choose to live in the now, but that’s not to say that the time I spent prior to the current day is inconsequential, the experiences I’ve gathered are meaningless. They matter, however some things you cannot change once all interaction has been exhausted, connections have been tampered with and broken, and the passions that you had grown to love, that had once lingered and given you comfort, have grown stale. I’ve grown to accept the shortcomings, regrets, hurt of my past and hope that the future holds better days with even greater joys.

Here is to life, to a new year full of opportunity and lessons to be learned. Here is to new laughs, triumphs, friendships, experiences. To growth, improvement, realizations, creativity, and an awakened zest for all the little things life holds in store.

May this year bring change that exudes confidence towards an even more exciting and fulfilling future, and may the skeletons of our memories be laid to rest. It’s time to move forward.

“Stripped Tour”, Meet Culture Room! – Starring Phil Barnes and We the Kings

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We arrived early and were lucky enough to make our way to the middle of the venue, just five people from the front. The bottoms of my feet were starting to ache from my heeled leather boots, but I shook off the feeling to maintain my place in the crowd. If any of you have been to an intimate venue, you know that it’s almost impossible to retain a spot if you leave for a moment. The concert go-ers were packed like sardines, and I had to wonder whether it was a hand or someone’s chest rubbing up against my back.

After thirty minutes or so of listening to some pretty vintage bands that I can honestly say I’ve never heard (for good reason), the lights began to flicker. The crowd was growing restless and you could feel the excited energy growing as we awaited the performance. I was under the impression that the show would strictly be We the Kings, but was pleasantly surprised by the stage entrance of an artist I had never seen or heard before: Phil Barnes.

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At first impression, he was handsome. Well dressed, a little scruffy, and it was apparent that, unlike many other music artists, he was humble even when on stage, in the spotlight. He began to strum, and suddenly the whole venue fell in silence. The warmth he brought to the stage could be felt for miles. He captured our attention and, despite everyone initially coming to the show to see We the Kings, cultivated a new group of diehard fans, me being one of them. However, I did have to roll my eyes from time to time between songs, as the rest of the crowd was still focused on the fact that he was attractive. “You’re hot!” they’d shout, laughing amongst themselves. His performance had me absorbing and internalizing the lyrics, swaying and singing along. I don’t think We the Kings could’ve ever had a better preliminary performance. Phil Barnes is a talent worth recognizing.

Shortly after, We the Kings made their way to the stage. This has been about the sixth time I’ve seen them live, but this time around, I would have to say, was better than the other performances I’ve seen by them. Three of the guys in the band, Charles Trippy, Danny Duncan, and Travis Clark, have YouTube channels which they essentially post their entire lives on, documenting each day through their vlogs. From watching these videos, you see the kind of friendship they have amongst themselves. The intimacy of the venue and the small-scale show cultivated their humor in a way that I had yet to see beyond their channels. It wasn’t just their music. The audience got to see the kind of people they were. Their silly jokes, banter amongst themselves and toward the crowd, and the awkward moments when the rain stick took the stage and blew everyone out of the water. I was so moved by the music that I only noticed the uncomfortable bruised feeling on my soles once I was able to make my way back to our car. You know it’s a good show when you forget that you’re in pain!

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My favorite moment in their set was when Travis Clark took to the piano in his poem/song about living your life, called “Is This the End?”. I was immediately drawn to his passion and emotional connectedness toward the lyrics. Even from the audience, I could feel the strength of his words. The piece deviated immensely from their general musical style, but I think that the deviation was an immensely positive one and I definitely think they should explore that style of expression in future pieces.

The dynamic that the band has when they’re together is something that many individuals, including me, would desire to have in their lives and even more so in their careers. They have friends for life within their group, a mutual desire for a larger, shared purpose, and I think that having that kind of family away from your own family is crucial to a fulfilled life. I could only hope that one day I could have a group of people that I could consider my own family as well, a group that supports and cultivates the same aspirations as forcefully and passionately as they do! I also thought it was incredibly admirable that they made the choice to do a “stripped” tour, a completely acoustic set, and traveled as lightly and minimally as they did on their very first musical tour. With a band as big as theirs, it’s important to acknowledge the roots from which they grew their career, and I believe that is a key to their success. They’re still willing to show their fans that they appreciate them and to express gratitude towards the support they’ve received from the start. Thank you, We the Kings, for bringing us back to where it all began once more. The nostalgia was worth every moment.

What was your take on the “Stripped” Tour?
Comment below!

Free at Last! (Personal Update + Poll)

Hello, my darlings!

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This has been a stressful homestretch, scattered with the anxiety of finishing group projects by seemingly impossible deadlines and the threat of upcoming exams that I felt mildly unprepared for, regardless of how hard I had studied. But this semester is finally coming to a close, I’m days away from sleeping in my own bed, and I feel my lungs gaining breath again. I feel like, in the last couple of weeks of a semester, I can barely breathe. I can never manage to take a full, deep breath and close my eyes to pure silence, because I know that once I close my eyes, reality will come back to bite me and remind me of what’s next on my list of things to do. But my head is officially clear, and I can begin to focus more on my art and writing again, and await the moment I can leave campus for an entire freakin’ month to go home and see my family and friends. It’s honestly the best treat a college kid could ask for, at least if they have a tight-knit family like I do. I always miss them when I’m away, but still, I definitely do not regret leaving for college because of this……But yes, I just feel good about everything lately and I am ready to come home and do nothing but things I want to do for the next few weeks. It will be glorious. Went on a bit of a tangent there. Moving right along. But yes, things are dandy on my end if you were wondering! 😉 And if not then….well, fine then. Suit yourself.

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Anyway, I’ve got some time to blow, and I’d love to get your input on a few things. I’m going to start writing daily again (I hope you’re as excited as I am!!), and would like to know what kinds of articles you would like me to write more of! I write for you guys just as much as I write for myself and I’d like to take some requests and what not for this holiday season. So if you could, take a moment and answer my poll below. Hopefully I can take your requests and write something wonderful for them that we’ll both enjoy! And if you have a specific prompt that you’d like answered in a new blog post, my email is mandirito@gmail.com! I’m happy to take email requests as well! I even made it easy. The contact form below will allow you to send your requests straight to my inbox. So go ahead, don’t be shy. I want to know what you think!

Hope you’re all having a wonderful last few weeks of your semester and annihilating your finals like I actually sorta did. You’re almost there. I believe in you! And if you’d like some finals inspiration or just want to peel your eyes away your textbooks for a moment or two, go ahead and check out the facebook page, where I post a bunch of relevant things regarding to finals, college, inspirational quotes, recent blog posts, and other stuff that you might enjoy! And I mean….if you love me….it’d be nice…..: facebook.com/mandirito.the.blogger

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Cmon. You know you want to.

Here is the poll:

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13 Reasons I’m Thankful this Thanksgiving!

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It’s that time of year again. The time where we all come together, with friends and family, to celebrate the things that we are most grateful for. Lately, I feel like there are so many wonderful, incredible things in my life that deserve to be noted, but because this is “13 reasons” and not “300 reasons”, I’ll try to limit it to the very best of the best!

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1. I finally have my camera charger back! Silly me, and this is going to sound really bad, but when I moved to college for this semester once again, I forgot a tiny little thing that I would need for my camera: the charger. So I had everything, from lenses, to carrying bags, to my DSLRs that I love so very much, and no charger. For either camera. But since I’m back home and spending this week having quality time with the fam, I was able to charge my camera! It’s been way too long, and I’m going to be pretty snap happy for these next couple of months.

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2. We always have the best, most delicious coffee at home. It’s one of the little things I miss when I’m away at school. I don’t even know what it is that makes it so much better. Perhaps the fact that it tastes a little stronger, even when it’s sweetened? It’s like crack. That must be the secret ingredient or something…

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3. I have time to blog again! With all the craziness of finals week arriving and the closure of my courses in combination with everything else, I have had absolutely no time to write, and I’ve missed it. I do it for you guys because I know you enjoy my work, but I especially enjoy it because in most cases, it feels quite therapeutic to me. Stay tuned for all the new posts coming soon! THEY’RE COMING.

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4. All the positive feedback I’ve received as of late. Even with me being busy and not having as much time lately to write for you guys everyday, you’ve still been so loving and supportive. I’ve barely lost any followers and subscribers, and it means a lot to me that you guys have stuck around!

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5. Sleeping in my own bed. It’s a pile of fluffy sheets and copious amounts of blankets that feel a lot like what heaven would feel like if it were a place to sleep. No bed compares to my bed at home, not to knock my bed in my apartment that highly resembles the hardness of blanketed concrete. But yeah.

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6. The weather is just gorgeous! I came from school, raining ferociously and wind blowing over bikes, to back home, sunny, breezy, and clear-sky-ed. It’s not even boiling hot. It’s a dream, really.

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7. After several months of being away from my family, nothing is more exciting than getting to spend time with them again. I’ve been here for only a couple of days so far and it’s been amazing. I look forward to countless more memories in this week alone, err….these next few days, the last few days…. before I have to head back to take my exams! *sigh*

The child within me weeps at the thought of leaving them and going back to my responsibilities. D*mn you, adulthood.

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8. This is the first time I’ve had an ounce of free time, and I’m clinging to them desperately. My major is definitely for the sleepless, but these breaks help me refocus. I’m keeping my eyes on the prize, even if they’re watery and red from tiredness.

I don’t have a ton of time, but I sure am a professional napper and cryer at this point.

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9. I have access to all my pretty clothes (and BEANIES!) that I didn’t get to bring when I moved away to college. It feels like I have brand new clothes every time I come home because there are so many pieces that I haven’t seen in a while. It gives me inspiration to try new outfits and rewear the clothes that I already have!

See that gif? Yeah, that’s me at college, staring in despair at my overflowing yet empty closet. NOTHING TO WEAR. NOTHING TO WEAR AT ALL.

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10. I can finally catch up on my latest guilty pleasure and the most successful procrastination technique I’ve discovered thus far within this semester: the Vampire Diaries series. It’s pretty dangerous when I have time to marathon on Netflix and when Netflix actually has to ask if I’m still there. Someone send help (Is there a life alert for Netflixers?!)!

Oh, and the answer to that question? College. Yep, yep. Feeling nothing. Team no sleep. Kinda numb. Coffee running through my veins. Sweatpants all day, everyday. It really does things to you…..

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11. I have time to work on building my audience. I’ve been slacking lately and I feel like my blog has come to somewhat of a stat-standstill, so it’ll be nice to dedicate some time to gaining exposure again. It takes a chunk of time and effort to create and manage a blog, and I don’t want to be that person that gives up when time gets tough! I, no, more like WE, will work through this. I have a good feeling.

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12. I’m learning to be much more independent and actually relishing in the independence. I think after a breakup, it’s best to learn how to focus on yourself and what you need to personally accomplish, and I feel like I’m doing that successfully lately. Sometimes I do need to turn my attention to myself and figure out what I want in order to prioritize my own dreams for the future.

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13. Everything feels like it’s falling into place. There are times in all of our lives when we feel fluctuation, when things get bad, get a little bit better, but then revert back to what we’ve been dreading. Lately, though, things are looking up. I feel like I’m cultivating a lot of positivity and I hope to maintain this positive outlook for the remainder of the year, and hopefully extend it beyond that. I can honestly say that I feel good, both physically and mentally. Things are looking up (knock on wood).

So now it’s your turn. Go ahead, tell me.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Comment below!

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