Tag Archives: personal

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

Illuminating Our Perfection, or Purposeful Deception?

IMG_1308

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?

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

Ipsy First Impressions: A “Fresh Start” to 2015!

DSC_0005

The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was the weird plastic texture of the bag and the unsightly colors. Don’t get me wrong! I usually love the bags the makeup comes in, but this time around was a different story….The orange, blue, and white combination on the bag is a little tacky in my opinion but I’m not generally paying for the makeup bag as much as I am paying for the actual products. I was expecting something a little cuter though. Maybe something a little more wintery?

DSC_0010

The first product I received was the Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm tube, which I originally thought was a cream (which would’ve really pissed me off. I am not a huge fan of creams, but Ipsy hasn’t seemed to take the hint in the past!). I thought it would be colored or scented (hence the name), but it is clear. No smell that I can detect, no color. It says it is used for “daily protection, soothing treatment, fatty acid absorption technology” so I guess….there’s……that. On the back it says it’s for the treatment and prevention of dry, irritated lips. I have never in a million years had this issue, but I guess I’ll find a use for it one of these days. I mean, I did pay for it. I will find a use for it.

DSC_0011

And then, needless to say, I was frustrated again by another tube, that was in fact a cream this time around (Smh). I thought I made it crystal clear in my survey that I did not want creams of any sort, but……oh well. The one I received in this bag was the Nourish Organic Renewing Eye Cream, which is also for people with dry skin. Again, I am the exact opposite of a dry skin sufferer. My skin is actually pretty oily as is, hence the apparent distaste for skin creams in general. I will, however, use these products and let you guys know what I think of them regardless of my preference! When I went in to smelling this product, I was horrified when it ended up on my nose and actually smelled uncannily like play dough. Yes, that stuff you used to play with and sometimes eat as a kid. It smells awful to me, but if you’re one of the people that enjoys that peculiar smell, then you might actually really enjoy this product. Around your eyes. Unlike me, who unwillingly was marked with this scent on the last place I’d want it to be on my face!

DSC_0012

Next, I got this gorgeous pink Elizabeth Mott All Over Shadow brush and it is the cutest thing ever. I love the color of the brush and the bristles already (pink is one of my top 5 favorite colors, so this was an immediately positive reaction!). I haven’t used the brush yet, but I am always in need of new brushes, especially for eye shadow, so I have a hunch that I’m gonna like this one.

DSC_0008

Then I got a Bellapierre Cosmetics pigment in “Exite”, which seems an awful lot like a spelling error. Is that a spelling error? Are you sure? No?…Okay moving on. This color is a shimmery white powder which I could imagine is going to look phenomenal when used to highlight and blend my eyeshadow. I’ve never had a pigment this glittery before, only glittered eyeliners, so I’m really looking forward to trying out this product. Most of the time, when I get pigments from Ipsy, they’re generally pretty fun sized but this one seems to be full-sized, which is a huge relief.

DSC_0009

Lastly, I got a Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow in “Treasure”. The color is stunning and seems like it will be very neutral on my olive skin tone. It also has a little bit of shimmer to add that extra glam and has a pretty blue packaging box with whimsical white waves on the front. It looks expensive. When I looked it up, I came to realize that it is fairly expensive for an eye shadow and it’s actually vegan and cruelty free, which is totally awesome! Kudos to Ipsy for choosing brands that believe in causes like animal rights. I could see myself purchasing more from this brand if I end up enjoying the product.

If you’d like me to make a video of the final impressions of these products on my Youtube channel, let me know in the comments below! Same goes for if you have any questions 🙂

I’m going to restart my youtube channel so I’ll make sure to post a link to the new one as well!

siggy

 

Final Thoughts of 2014

DSC_0015-watermarked

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.

10 Unexpected Lessons Learned from the Movie, “The Internship”!

The-Internship

I get pretty weary of stupid-funny movies, but I was pleasantly surprised by The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and the ever-so-charming Owen Wilson. I know I’m a little late to the party, but the movie is still worth the post. I thought it was funny, and not necessarily stupid, despite the on and off ratings that I’ve seen. After taking a course that involved quite a lot of film and media analysis, I’ve come to realize that it’s just a fact that I will dig for meaning in practically anything I watch (unless it’s a horror film, which in almost all cases, ends up making absolutely no sense and comes to no actual resolution for the main characters other than unapologetic mass demolition). However, there was no demolition to be had in this film and I found myself laughing a lot more than I had expected.

What have I learned, you ask?

Here are the 10 unexpected lessons I’ve learned from watching the movie, The Internship:

  1. People are so openly judgmental in this film. Yeah, they’re adult men in an internship. So what? If I were on their team, I wouldn’t take a second glance. There are plenty of men and women that are ages 30+ sitting in the same courses as me in college. Why is that any bit different? Regardless though, I’d like to think that how Billy and Nick, the main two guys, coped with the preliminary assumptions tacked upon them by their team was an exhibition of their characters’ determined attitudes. Even after realizing the mockery they were being dealt by their younger counterparts as full-grown men in a college internship program, they managed to gain respect by continuing to earn their place and suppressing the urge to be a poor sport.
  2. Positivity brings success, even if it’s not immediate. When their team bombs the Quidditch match by little to nothing, they still manage to cultivate positive energy through reinforcement. Instead of dwelling in the despair of loss and the looming fear of being ousted from the employment opportunity they had been working so strenuously for, they opt to take on a better perspective in hopes of annihilating their next quest.
  3. I don’t quite understand why The Internship established “stereotypes” almost immediately when the group was doing their introductions or the fact that the only woman in the group seemed to be somewhat insecure and dependent (not my cup of tea, but by the closing of the film, this fact became increasingly insignificant), but from the middle to the very end of the film, not only did those stereotypes fade into the background (hallelujah!), but the group managed to combine each individual’s skills to ultimately earn their victory. In a weird way, this goes to show that our world is full of talented, intelligent individuals, and a skill that I may be strong in might not be a strength for the next person. Therefore as horrible as it may be to work among teams sometimes, it’s beneficial to the outcome of the project. We all bring something different (and hopefully better!) to the table.
  4. Taking a break from work in times of high stress can help spark inspiration. It may even seem counterproductive, but this method actually works when it comes to meeting deadlines. I’m not saying throw back a tequila shot (or many) or get trashed at a club with a bunch of underagers like they did in the film on the night that your assignment is due, but try to give your brain a break. I personally do my best work when I stop inducing panic attacks and redirect my energy elsewhere temporarily. Distraction isn’t always such a bad thing!
  5. In preparation for the following day, one of their most essential challenges during the internship, Billy is left with the painful fact that there are absolutely no shortcuts to studying. Studying requires work, and work requires effort. Sorry, folks. No shortcuts for studying have been found thus far. Hit the books and they’ll hit back…..I guess?
  6. People can surprise you if you avoid judging them by their cover. The cover ISN’T ALWAYS RIGHT. Dana, played by Rose Byrne (known prominently for her role in Bridesmaids and Neighbors, as well as many other films) shoots Nick (Owen Wilson’s character) down over and over out of the assumptions that he wouldn’t be right for her (he’s an easygoing intern, she’s a structured, business-oriented, established employee). They go on one date and she realizes that he’s exactly the kinda of guy she’s looking for, the mac to her cheese. If she hadn’t given him that one chance, just because she had already made an assumption about the kind of person he is, it would’ve been back to square one. People are complicated. It’s going to take a lot more than a glance and some flirty smalltalk to figure someone out.
  7. If every workplace was like Google headquarters in this film (yes, I am aware that this film was also partially shot at a university and that some details are, in fact, fabricated for audience appeal), I feel like employees would have less concerns other than the work that they must put forth. The food is free, they provide transportation, they have nap pods available to the employees (can we make this a thing at universities please?!). You practically would have everything given to you on a silver platter so you could focus on what’s important: quality work.
  8. No angry man, not even Billy throwing a hissy fit, looks serious driving away on a red, yellow, and green Google bicycle. No one.
  9. Pizza makes everything better. They definitely won, not because of their apparent superiority among the other teams, but because of the impromptu pizza party that they happened to throw at the calculation of the teams’ results. They could’ve had my vote, I’ll tell you that. I wonder what phenomenal grade I could receive from buying out a Papa Johns to bring pizza during finals week…What’s higher than an A?
  10. A movie with Owen Wilson doesn’t have to be stupid. It can have some substance, which The Internship successfully proved! I think that Owen Wilson is an incredibly talented actor, but I don’t think the silly movies he’s found himself in do his acting talent any justice. This movie surprised and impressed me. Surprise, surprise. I may even watch it again.

I hope you liked the lessons I’ve learned!

If you can think of any as well, feel free to leave a comment below 🙂

Mandirito-signature-picture

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