Tag Archives: life

You Are Loved

People will tell you that you should never base your self-worth on those that surround you, because there will be times when they will let you down and times they will take a shot at your feelings due to their own circumstances, and your first assumption will be that it is because YOU are not worth their time, or YOU are not worth their effort. It’s difficult to not let how others treat you affect the way you perceive yourself. Recent events have let those kinds of destructive thoughts creep into my own head, which I had persistently blocked for a very long time. I began thinking that I wasn’t worth the time, the effort, the sacrifice, the love, the respect, and the understanding it takes to be in a relationship, a friendship, anything. The issue is that the negative forces in our lives take so much of a toll on us personally that they end up overwhelming the positive forces, and I can’t believe that I didn’t acknowledge this when it happened in my own life recently. I know that I am worth so much more than I have been given credit for in the past. I am not my unhappy experiences, my failures, my pain, my sadness, my inabilities, my projected worth…I am so much more.

That is why I believe that you are good enough, too. You may have had a horrible day, week, even year. But you know what? Things are going to get better, for both you and I. I may not even know you, but I can tell you that you can’t base your perception of YOUR worth on how people treat you. People are selfish and sometimes they don’t even mean to be. But they can be, and sometimes they are. Who’s to say that the way they conduct their lives and treat others reflects how you should be treated and how much you’re worth as an individual? You’re not a toy that they can just play with when they’ve got a moment to spare, and then put on the shelf. You’re not their pet, relying on them for the quality of your own life. You are a person with feelings, ambitions, vulnerabilities in combination with strengths. You’re unique in all aspects of your life and there will never be someone just like you, someone rich in the qualities that you possess in the exact same way. So you know what? Ditch the negative people, the hurtful memories, the times you’ve fallen on your face so hard you thought you’d never get back up, the underestimations people have of you, the disappointment people in their own lives that has somehow been projected upon your own life… Forget how people have made you feel. You’re incredible, and you deserve to be happy. Don’t let anyone take that happiness, that ability to feel alive and love yourself and the world around you, away from you. You deserve to be happy, fulfilled, and excited about your life, and those who don’t agree, don’t deserve to be a part of YOU.

You’re incredible, and no matter who you are, where you are, how people have hurt you in the past, what you think you’re worth, if I know you or not, you deserve to be happy and you are loved. Tremendously, genuinely, honestly, respectfully…

You are loved.

siggy

Easier Now

DSC_0038-watermarked

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

Introducing Phil Barnes: The Interview!

tumblr_static_74xh4pbvl4sgo4c4socoosg04

Today, I was honored with the opportunity to interview a local talent, Phil Barnes, a musician that I had recently seen on the “Stripped” Tour which was launched by one of my all-time favorite bands, We the Kings. He has performed alongside some equally talented artists, including but not limited to Austin Mahone, Kelly Clarkson, and Jessie J! He has not only performed hundreds of shows in his time as a musician, but he has also managed to build his success from its very roots while still remaining humbled by his journey to stardom…. er…. more like stagedom.

If you’d like to check him out, navigate to PhilBarnesMusic.com for updates on future concerts, to access his online merch store (the shirts are pretty nifty if I do say so myself!), and much more. Without further ado, here’s our one-on-one interview.


Mandy: “What got you started on music in the first place? Was it a skill you developed from watching someone else, or was it something you pursued on your own?”

Phil: “I watched some of my friends pick up the guitar when I was around 13, and I thought, “man, this is SO cool.” So I got one soon after and started watching YouTube videos of artists I loved then taught myself the chords they were playing.”

Mandy: “At the time, which artists were you looking to for that extra push to move forward in your music career?

Was there a specific genre of music that guided you into the musical direction you’ve found yourself in, or were there several that compiled into your current style?”

Phil: “I’ve gotta tell you, I’m looking to a lot of my friends. Emily Kopp and Wes Harllee are fantastic songwriters and performers who I’m lucky enough to have in my phone book. Mainstream-wise, I look to Ed Sheeran for his grind, John Mayer for his musicality, and a ton of hip-hop acts for phrasing. I think hip-hop acts, along with jazz-cats, have incredible concepts of timing and word placement. I try to bring those elements into my side of the field.”

Mandy: “So your music is essentially a compilation of all of those elements, brought together in a single style. The fact that you’re surrounded by so many talented people must be such an incredible motivator to continue to advance your own musical career, but it can be intimidating at times, I’m sure, to be standing side by side with artists that have been established for many years prior to your own career.

How do you personally maintain your confidence in the ever-changing, growing music industry?”

Phil: “It can definitely be intimidating. But as an artist, you get the immense liberty to be yourself and I think as difficult as it may be, it can be reinforcing to know that you get a stage to be yourself on. That time on stage is my favorite part of the day. And the confidence just grows as you keep on. Being in front of a mic starts to feel like home.”

Mandy: “I commend you for having such a strong presence on stage. That was part of the reason I enjoyed your performance so immensely last night at Culture Room during the “Stripped” Tour. You manage to exhibit your personality in such a genuine way, which is difficult to do, especially if you’re someone like me who finds being on stage to be a daunting experience.

How did you overcome the initial jitters of being on stage?

What was your first experience as a musician in the spotlight like?” 

Phil: “Ah, thanks! First experience on stage… wasn’t much of a stage as much as it was the corner of a Starbucks. Haha. But I was as nervous as could be. Shaky-voice, shaky-hands and all. But I got through it and people still wanted to come out to another show. I think what builds confidence is just continually doing something that scares the hell out of you.”

Mandy: “Transitioning from a Starbucks to a venue like the Culture Room is such a massive step up. We all start somewhere though, right? It must’ve been a dream to be able to display your talent in such a large-scale way next to none other than We the Kings.

What has your experience with touring been like?

Do you have a favorite venue that you’ve performed in so far that you’d potentially want to return to?”

Phil: “Exactly! The manager, Patti, at that Starbucks was so kind to let me set up my gear and do that. Touring has been a blast – there’s nothing better than getting to see a new city or hitting a new coffee shop every day and getting to meet new fans so often. If I get a little extra time before I show, I try to visit a restaurant that the folks at the venue are raving about it hit a coffee shop for a bit. There’s a venue up in Nashville called the Listening Room that I always love to play. Great crowd. Great room. Great sound. And I’ve gotta show love for the Culture Room. Such a cool spot and I’ve seen all of my favorite artists there.”

Mandy: “I could imagine that getting to visit new cities is a major plus as a musician, especially getting to meet your fans! It must be so humbling for you.

How would you say touring has affected your personal life away from music? What are the pros and cons of being on the road?”

Phil: “It’s definitely an adjustment being on the road – but I feel very comfortable with it as of right now. I really enjoy being piled up in a van or flying solo in my Ford Focus, as odd as it sounds. Haha. Not so much a con, but sometimes it’s tough to get used to a super, super tight schedule when you travel. Every so often, we’re grabbing two hours of sleep after a gig and driving 12 hours to the next one, straight into load-in and sound check. For the pro-side, my girlfriend goes to the University of Alabama, and since the majority of my touring is currently through the South, on the off-days I’ll shoot over to Tuscaloosa and spend some time with her. That’s definitely a plus.”

Mandy: “Thank you so much, Phil, for taking some time out of your day to answer my questions! I wish you all the best in your future endeavors as a musician and look forward to hearing more music from you in the future! Keep doing what you love, and the opportunities will continue to follow! Thanks again!”


I hope you guys enjoyed my interview with Phil Barnes! If you’d like to know more about this incredible artist (I insist you get on that), go ahead and give him a follow.:

 


 

xo Amanda Cramer

Mandirito-signature-picture

13 Reasons I’m Thankful this Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving-2

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!

47985

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.

giphy

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…

blogging_loudly-10541

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.

giphy (1)

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!

crazy_man_in_bed___animation_gif_by_gturbo5-d67ad4g

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.

Im-so-happy-GIF

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.

1314194350658

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.

giphy (2)

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.

giphy (3)

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.

tumblr_m0e57jpmmv1rqvc0ko1_r1_500

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…..

tapsvihar

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.

craptelly9.gif

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.

Jared-Padalecki-Sam-Winchester-Supernatural-GIF-Happy-Birthday-I-Feel-Good

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!

Mandirito-signature-picture

The Personality Fluctuation of an Anxiety-Ridden Student of Life

Ready, Set, Done! – A Response to the Daily Post prompt

anxiety 2

It’s strange.

I feel like I am a different person every day, or maybe every other day. One day, I will be confident, persuasive, extroverted, rambunctious. The next, I will be reclusive, introverted, perfectly happy surrounded by nothing more than my drawing tablet, cup of coffee, and my laptop on full-charge playing some Ingrid Michaelson as background music. How does this change? How do I transition between two completely different phases, two personalities that could essentially house two different bodies but instead cozy up to each other in this one individual: me?

Some days, I am pained by the glance of strangers, while other days, it’s perfectly easy to return a smile, strike a conversation. On the days when I don’t wish to return the favor, I can feel their eyes burning into my cheek like they’re branding me with their look. I can actually feel the blood rush to my face, rising and burning like flames under my skin. But when I smile back, there’s mutual acknowledgement, and the glance is dropped. Something about people avoiding elongated eye contact… At these points, I feel like I reversed the reaction.

There are days when I enjoy the spotlight, basking in the glow of my accomplishments. And then, on the opposing end, there are moments when I hope to god that no one mentions that I was the culprit of something, even if it were a wonderful thing. The pressure to perform on these days makes me feel like a seasoned actress.

The weirdest part of it all is that I’m never really too sure which personality will be more dominant each morning I wake up. I accept them both lovingly though. I adore my extroverted, loud-and-proud side just as equally as the less showy introverted side I possess. I believe it all really depends on the anxiety I experience on a day to day basis. When its grip isn’t as strong, I’m more outward and upfront. There’s no barricade preventing me from projecting myself. But this isn’t to say that on the days I prefer being alone, I am generally anxious. Anxiety certainly contributes though, at least to some of these days. I have to wonder if the anxiety I experience is what maintains my ambiversion, or if naturally I am comprised of elements from both sides that sometimes just separate more distinctly on specific days.

Anyone else feel like they’re housing two opposing personalities in one body sometimes?

Do you prefer one side over the other?

The Secret’s Out, and “Secret” Wasn’t In On It

stay-as-anonymous-as-possible-online.1280x600

I remember the short-lived fad of Formspring back in the days when we used to pull each other’s hair and play lame pranks to exhibit our affections for one another: the infamous and unflattering middle school days. But when we weren’t writing silly love notes and learning the true meaning of cliques, we were in the confines of our bedrooms at home, scrolling through the accumulation of anonymous posts that had congregated on our profiles throughout the day. Some were positive (“Nice hair”, “You’re cute”, whatever, blah blah blah), but the majority of the posts that I had read on Formspring were comments that easily took it too far. Yet users were hooked, obsessed even, with being able to express all the thoughts they had been itching to say without experiencing the consequences of their words . We were finally able to tell the people we had issues with, anonymously, how much they suck. Needless to say, the word of the power of anonymity spread like wildfire.

As we’ve reached this point in time, however, we are far past the Formspring age. Technology has advanced tremendously since the common use of flip phones and the rage of sidekicks. Now, many of us have Apple products, iPhones, and we find ourselves consumed by smartphone apps that claim anonymity for those who wish to post their “secrets” online without being traced. Just for the adrenaline rush of the world being able to know and access the information but not determine the source. I admit, it is somewhat exhilarating. But I don’t believe in online anonymity.

secret

With that being said, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I read one of CNN’s latest technology articles confronting the realization that the app “Secret”, similar to the concept of “Whisper” (an app that I had previously explored) allowed users to be able to trace back posts of the friends that they had linked the app with, essentially defeating the purpose of the anonymously-posting app. Why are we surprised that technology isn’t yet perfect? Why are we surprised that it has hitches and glitches sometimes? No technology is perfect and 100% reliable, and these types of “anonymous” apps are still relatively new. They’re still being improved upon, reworked, and criticized. There is still room for them to grow and develop. Everything in life requires trial and error to improve, and this was an error on their part that I honestly feel like they’re going to be taking much more seriously now that it has been brought to light. I doubt it was their master plan all along to tell the world about your raging foot fetish.

The verdict is essentially this: If you’re fearful of your secret ever getting released to the public, whether it be online or otherwise, with your name attached, it’s best that you leave it for the mind to bear. The internet isn’t always the best place to harbor the truths we sometimes wish we could forget.

CNN Article Referenced: ‘Secret’ app didn’t actually keep you anonymous

What are your thoughts on apps like “Secret”?

Comment below!

 

 

Collegiette Clue-Ins: 5 First-Hand Realizations About Making the Big Move to Off-Campus Housing

52864080

Since the moment I stepped foot on campus, I was a dormy. I had the little shared room, which later turned into a little non-shared room, but still, it was a dorm. A dorm is a dorm is a dorm. This goes without saying, but dorms do not accommodate free-flowing space and the habitation of one person, let alone two. If it weren’t for the experience, I would’ve kicked the idea of living in a furnished closet to the corner, but that exhilarated Freshman inside of me begged to be confined by these bare white walls and the concrete-esque mattress of this twin-sized board they called my bed to embrace the independence, cooperation, and infamous struggle required as a newly instated collegiette. Now that I’ve gotten past that horrid phase in my college career, I’ve branched to what I had long considered the unknown: school-affiliated apartment housing that is off campus. Yes, I’ve finally done it, the big thing. So to kick off this semester of new beginnings and unexpected struggles, I would like to reiterate the realizations I have made as a campus outsider looking at the whole big picture of my housing experience.


ge3IaIe

1. You never really understand how much space you’re missing out on until the moment when you arrive at your first real apartment. I can legitimately breathe in here, deep breaths!  I can extend my arms in both directions, stretch real hard, and not touch both walls. I can smell the freedom, and for once, it doesn’t smell like dirty carpet or an unkept common area. I think that’s exciting! Excitement is actually an understatement. It’s invigorating. And not only that. When I enter my room, I’m not already standing in front of my bed, nor do I have to kick and shove things aside to be able to close my door. I have a good amount of feet before I even come close! I could tell it was a blessing when I unpacked my belongings and the room did not induce a stress-related panic attack.

youvegotmail

2. I finally have a mailbox that isn’t a P.O. box. It’s an ACTUAL, real-life MAILBOX, guys. I never realized how irritating it can be to have a P.O. box when I want to order samples of products (Yep, it’s a new thing I’m trying out, and yes, I promise I’ll include all the details when I actually receive said samples!). A chunk of them won’t even let you if you’re unlucky enough to have a P.O. box, and it’s not really like I had much of a choice coming in to decide where I wanted my mail to be dropped. Having an actual mailbox gives me the freedom to be the scavenger I am for online deals. It’s a win-win. I save money and companies get another (hopefully) happy customer that may or may not consume based upon happy sampling (or sad sampling, if the product makes me break out even more so than my skin does).

not-sure-if-v40fgi

3. The walls are, in fact, still thin. Queue the “boos” and other groans of discontentment. If someone turns their head in the building next door to me, I can hear it. I guess I wasn’t really expecting thicker walls anytime soon, but it was worth the hopefulness. But now, I have the added benefit of creaking floors and creaking ceilings from my neighbors above my apartment romping around, doing what they do on a Wednesday night. However, don’t regard this as a complaint. I am madly, deeply in love with the new apartment I call my home. It really is a home. There’s not a single part about it or my residence community that makes me feel like I’m in confinement.

aN2p5Ls

4. I’m a rent-paying adult. Ew, adulthood. And I have to pay my rent on time. By a deadline. Like everything else. It’s one of those realizations that only begins to hit you when you’re filling out the check, dotting the “i”‘s, and carving in that finalizing signature. It’s not like the thought hasn’t grazed your brain before, but being the individual that the deadline addresses…it’s so odd. Dorms force you to pay basically upfront. There isn’t a monthly payment that needs to be issued, so the thought barely crossed my mind. I could fill my brain with all of my other obligations (which happily accepted and inhabited the space). I was a little overzealous this month, paying my next month’s rent 10 days before it’s actually due, but I’m an anxious person that knows for sure that I’m going to trip over myself one month and realize that I have yet to pay my rent. So here’s a toast to the overachiever in me, and although overzealous me will get over this next step up, the daunting signs of adulthood that are looming upon me will put me back into this strange little worried state. It takes time to become accustomed to backpacking my responsibilities.

bus

5. Shuttles are convenient. So convenient. TOO CONVENIENT. The claim is that they arrive every 15 minutes, but….I guess…..15 translates to 45 in a conversation between bus driver and the average punctual, logical, time-telling-and-comprehending student. If you don’t have a car, and you can’t find a friend with a car, and you have free time to wait for an hour before your class to ensure that you get there. And you can’t possibly walk, and it’s not urgent, and the class is optional, and it’s not an exam day, and you don’t mind sporadically rubbing up against strangers, and if you want an arm workout from holding on to the bars too tight while you’re standing in the middle aisle in the hopes that you don’t come crashing through the emergency exit when the driver makes a sudden stop. So….yeah. Shuttles are….convenient. They’re great, if any of those reasons are applicable. But don’t take my word for it. Take them for a spin. You’ll enjoy every sweaty, anxious moment that accompanies this intimate experience. 

Og0mLWK

What did you come to realize when you moved off campus?

Leave a comment below!