Get To Know Me

I Don't Consider Myself Latina

CFL 'Latina' CommentI was at the Mexican market some time in June ready to check out when I spotted Cosmo For Latinas. I didn't even know that it existed but having a self proclaimed and undying love for fashion magazines, I was interested and picked it up. I read through it once. Read through it again. Then read through it for a third time. 

I liked it.

I liked it a lot. 

I connected to it. 

So I wrote the above comment on their Facebook page. 

But I know there will be some questions as to why I don't consider myself to be Latina. I actually kind of hate the word. Not in the sense that the term applies to others, but in the sense that the term doesn't apply to me. I don't liked be called 'latina'. 

I consider myself to be mixed. People always ask me what I am and my usual response is, "a mutt" to which they normally laugh a bit, but in all seriousness, that's what I am. 

I'm culturally mixed. I have Spanish, Irish, German, Native American (Lumbee, Cherokee, Comanche) and Mexican blood flowing through my veins. So when people try to classify me as being purely Latina, I have to nicely, and sometimes not so nicely tell them "No." On forms, I usually have to mark 'decline to state' or 'other'. But every once in a while, I'll get an updated form that has the option of 'two or more races' and I get to gleefully check that box instead.

To say that I'm Latina would be to deny my other heritages and I'm not about that life. I celebrate my diversity albeit in the stereotypical way. I root for Spain in sports, I go to Oktoberfest, I eat cabbage and potatoes, I've gone to a few powwows and California is practically Mexico junior.  I can read and understand Spanish better than I can speak it, and I joke by saying that I know enough to ask for more tacos, more tequila, and directions to the bathroom, but the reality is, I could get around if I needed to. 

That's why I was glad to see that I actually enjoyed reading CFL, and why I wrote that comment. As a person with Hispanic/Latina roots, I'm happy that I was able to identify with a magazine that showcases all the skin colors and cultures of the Spanish speaking diaspora. I've tried reading 'latina' magazines before and I just couldn't get into them. I didn't see myself as it's target market. So to pick up CFL, randomly mind you, and be able to identify with it's content made me really happy. 

So while it's a kind of blasé explanation as to why I don't consider myself Latina, it's pretty much the main reason.

I'm mixed and I refuse to deny any part of my being. 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

8 Things I've Learned in My 20s

8 Things I Learned in my 20s

 

Wednesday was my 29th birthday and while I know I don't look 29, there are definitely lessons that I've learned in my 20s that will stick with me forever. 

1. Other People's Opinion of You is not Your Concern. This one was especially tough for me to get over because I'm a leo and leos are very concerned with their image and how they're perceived. Honestly, once I got over this hang up, it felt like a giant weight was lifted off my shoulders. 

2. Stay Focused. I didn't immediately go to college after high school. Then I thought I figured out what I wanted to do but had a boyfriend at the same time. If you read this post on my original life goal, you'd know that being a SAHM was always one of my dreams. I tried to nurture that relationship so that that would be the eventual outcome. School wasn't my top priority and that relationship eventually ended. Once I figured out what my true passion was, nothing could stop me. I focused on making my second dream a reality and I've never been more proud of myself than these last couple of semesters getting myself onto both the school dean and school president's honor rolls. 

3. Treat Your Body Right. Treat your body right. When I experimented with Paleo last year, I realized the effect that real food has on your body versus everything else and while I fell off the healthy/real food train, I've steadily been  making better food choices for myself and getting back into fitness. I love knowing how powerful my body can be if I treat it the way it's supposed to be treated. 

4. Don't Be Afraid to Change. The Amanda that I am now is completely different from the Amanda I was in High School and that's perfectly fine. If I wasn't then that's when I would be concerned. Changing means that you've experienced things. That you've grown. For me, this goes back to #1. I thought that because people knew me to be one thing, that I couldn't change and be the person who I knew I was inside. A tomboy addicted to fashion magazines. I don't think anyone aside from my mom and sister really knew how much I loved magazines. 

5. Don't Depend on Other People for Things. My dad instilled this into me when I was little. If there's anything I want, don't depend on other people to get it for you. This is why I'm so hard to buy gifts for. I hardly mention things that I want. I make notes and figure out plans to get them myself. I see this a lot with the female customers that come into work and I just can't help but shake my head at them. Don't think that just because you say that you want something, that then you deserve it. You have to work for it. 

6. Know What You Stand For. Your 20s are for learning who you are and what you stand for. By the time you're 30, you should already know what you stand for, what causes you support, no matter how big or small. For example, I can't stand people who litter. Especially if there's a trashcan within 20 feet. Another thing I don't stand for: domestic abuse.

7. Be Polite. You won't be alone, but you'll stand out. 

8. Develop A Thick Skin... but learn when to say enough is enough. Don't take offense easily, but don't be a push over either. Learn when to stand up for yourself. Sure, go ahead and call me a "stupid Mexican cunt" (true story) all you want. It won't bother me, but mess with my family or friends, and I rage. 

I'm sort of getting depressed that this is my last year of my 20s, but I'm kind of excited to see what's next in store for me and future lessons. 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

Saturday Tunes: Kings Of Leon "Talihina Sky"

 I was dating a guy named Anthony for a bit back in '06 or '07 and I remember him telling me about some band called Kings Of Leon. I remember him saying they were like a group of brothers and a cousin and that I should check them out because he thought that I'd really be into them. Eventually I forgot the name of the band but when "Sex on Fire" came out, I was like, "Oh yeah. That's the band Anthony told me about." And just like he had said those years before, I did end up really liking them. But it wasn't until May of this year that they finally solidified their spot as Favorite band in my eyes. And all because of a little documentary on Netflix called "Talihina Sky". Their background really spoke to me and although I don't know what it's like to grow up in a religious family, I do know what it feels like to be dirt poor. The movie cuts between their past and how they got started and gearing up for a family reunion that takes place essentially in the woods. There's a point where one of their family members says something along the lines of, "They're not here to play. They don't even bring their guitars when they come. They're here to be around family." Getting back to nature, staying in little wood shacks for a week, drinking beer, playing cards and horseshoes, swimming in the creek, telling stories. It's about family and coming together as equals without the sterotype of being rock stars. They're not Kings of Leon there, although some of the family members talk about how they've wanted to go to a show but couldn't. They're just Caleb, Nate, Jared, and Matt. 

That's something I can get behind. 

Happy Saturday Bears! 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

My Original Life Goal

NIGEL BARKERCredit: Nigel Barker

I've never admitted this out loud or actually told anybody but here we go.  

Up until a couple of years ago, the main thing that I ever wanted to be was a stay at home mom. I considered being a mom as the ultimate thing a woman can be because not all women can bear a child and not all women have them nor want them, but it was something that I aspired to. 

But I think my generation considers it to be an antiquated thing. Something one's grandparents did, maybe one's parents but definitely not us. We're independent. We don't need to depend on a guy for anything. And actually, that's something that my dad has harped on since I was little. "Make your own money. Have a career. Don't depend on anyone else for anything. If you want something, you make plans to get it on your own" and so on and so forth. And even though I agree with him, still in the back of my mind was the want to stay at home. 

I think that's the case for a lot of guys as well. They don't want to be the sole provider for someone else. They want independent women as well. Someone who can do for herself.

I was reminded of this just yesterday at work. A group of four or five ladies and a man came in yesterday. They all ordered their large frappuccinos and then when it came time to pay, they all looked at the guy. He had this surprised look on his face like, "Oh, I'm paying?" yet he hadn't even ordered a drink. I just shook my head. 

Unless it's my dad or my sister, I have a problem with people paying for me. I don't like the feeling it leaves me with, that I owe somebody something, and I'm pretty adamant about it too. 

Even society as a whole kind of looks down on SAHMs. Despite the fact that SAHMs wear many hats, and how websites like to try and figure out how much a SAHM should be paid in the working world, it is definitely one of the  toughest jobs in the world and one that I feel not everyone should be privvy to. I feel that just because a woman has the ability to create a child, not every woman should have one. 

But me, yes, definitely. I've been told many a time that I would make a good mom but as I got older I felt like the opportunity was starting to fade away and so I began working on my contingency plan. 

My order of dream jobs goes like this: SAHM, fashion magazine Editor, Professional Blogger, person who makes the music mixes for coffee houses. Hahahaha. A little all over the place but not really. 

What I wanted out of being a SAHM was what's pictured above. Those little serene moments with the kids while taking a nap. Teaching them the ability to appreciate how awesome/powerful nature is. Seeing the little A Ha! moment when they finally understand how 2x2 equals 4. Hearing them laugh and squeal as I tickled them on the bed and the random hugs and kisses that they would give me without being asked. 

In a way, I kind of get to live that experience through my niece and nephew, except when they have a dirty diaper I get to tell them, "Go tell mom to change your diaper" and off they go. I get the pleasure of taking them to the park, or spinning them around in circles. Of chasing them down the hall and yelling "Rawwwwwwwrrr" and little hugs and kisses when I ask for them (Which is A LOT honestly because I love their little butts even though they're hellians, God bless their souls.) Haha. And right now, I'm kind of fine with that. If I can't have a kid of my own right now, or even in the long run, at least I have that experience with my niece and nephew. 

I may not to get to feel what being pregnant feels like, or to feel a baby kicking inside of me, and quite honestly I get creeped out by that when I see it anyway. The love that I have for my two little rascals can tide me over until I have a child of my own, hopefully. 

So in the meantime, I'll just keep chipping away on finishing my degree and working to become a fashion magazine editor or professional blogger. 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

Why #yesallwomen Matters

  • It's the reason I don't like to go anywhere by myself at night
  • It's the reason why I walk with my keys in my hand
  • It's the reason I have to buy pepper spray in the first place
  • It's the reason I text my sister to let her know that I just got off the train when coming home from my night class
  • It's the reason why I know what S.I.N.G stands for
  • It's the reason I refuse to have a partner who even looks like he's raising a hand to me while he's angry
  • It's the reason I had to defend my mom against a grown ass man when I was seven because she was too afraid to
  • It's the reason I walk fast, period
  • It's the reason I look straight down when passing guys on the sidewalk
  • It's the reason that I get catcalled just for going to the store
  • It's the reason when I know I'm getting leered at when walking by a group of guys
  • It's hearing, "Damn, she got a big ass" after I pass by but it couldn't be said to my face
  • It's being called, "mamacita" "little lady" "aye, girl" "Cht cht" "Preciosa" and a plethora of other names. 
  • It's the reason I act a little bit tougher to guys because I've been conditioned to think that most of them just want to get into my pants
  • It's hearing a group of guys speaking from a distance, and then silence as I walk by
  • It's the reason that my sister feels compelled to tell me "Be careful" when leaving the house 
  • It's the reason I start to freak out when a guy is walking a little too close at night 
  • It's the reason why my sister taught me when I was 12 to always look behind you when passing a guy on the street to make sure they've kept walking 
  • It's the reason we have to tell girls that their bodies are their own and that they don't have to let anybody touch them if they don't want to. 
  • It's the reason why victims of rape are the ones made to feel guilty, not the rapist 

I've never considered myself to be a feminist and lord knows when feminism came up as a discussion topic during Lit Club, that I was the first one to moan in disagreement but after what's happened at UCSB and the response of #yesallwomen, how can I not be? And it's not that I'm a man hater, because the lord also knows that I love me a good man, but it's just that men haven't taken a single precaution to make sure that they aren't sexually assaulted or raped, while women have taken numerous. And because we know that if something were to ever happen to us, we'd be the one to blame. "What was she wearing?" "Was she trying to get a guys attention?" "Did she lead him on?"

How I can say something and be dismissed for it, then two seconds later, a man can say the exact same thing, and be regarded for it, or given the credit. And I guess you can say I've always been a feminist to some degree. Like when I was younger and complained to my mom about why I couldn't join the boy scouts. They got to do all the cool stuff like going on hikes, and camping and building fires and whatnot while girls just got to sell cookies. I didn't want to sell fucking cookies. Don't get me wrong, now that I'm older I think it's a great organization teaching young women an awesome skill set, but when I was younger, that's how I viewed it.

All women have have these next couple of things engrained in them at a young age: boys will never change so just ignore it, boys will be boys, and, that if a boy hits you, that means he likes you. So does that mean that I should aspire to have a guy hit me when I'm older too? And do the frequency of the beatings mean that no only does he like me, but that he loves me? How is it okay for a boy to hit a girl when they're younger, but not okay for a man to hit a woman when he's an adult? It's not. 

I was a young witness to domestic violence. My mother was a victim and I refuse to let that be the same for me. That cycle ends with me. It's the same reason while in a new relationship, the first thing I say to them is, "If you ever raise your hand at me in anger, it's over. I don't care. No if's, and's or but's, and if you ever actually hit me while angry, I will fucking kill you." My mom was too afraid to defend herself but I wasn't. I've pulled a knife on a grown man. Screwdrviers, baseball bats, and even a glass coke bottle on people for hurting the ones I love. 

With that being said, #yesallwomen opens a giant pandora box that I alone can't describe. If you're a guy who has sisters or daughters, I beg you to ask them. Ask them if they've ever experienced any of these things. Unwanted advances, catcalls, being brushed by a man's hand or penis "accidentally", being dismissed by someone saying 'it must be that time of the month' , and then ask them at what age they first remember it happening.  You'd be surprised.  

Amanda ❤

My Perfect Day

The other day I was watching "Miss Congeniality" and the infamous "perfect day" scene came on, which got me thinking. What would I consider to be my perfect day? Here it is. 

1. July 23rd. My birthday. 

Happy Birthday Balloon Banner 

2. I've never had breakfast in bed, so that would happen. 

Breakfast in bed 

3. Then there would be several hours of floating around a lazy river, in some tropical location. 

Tropical Lazy River

4.Friends and family would be there obviously. Which implies music, dancing, and drinks. 

Friends at the Beach

5. Of course, it wouldn't be my birthday without having a taquero. 

Taquero

6. There would also be a pancake cake, 'Uncle Buck'-style. 

Pancake cake7. There'd be some fireworks

Fireworks

8. A Bonfire

Bonfire

9. Then I'd go home and cuddle with my hypothetical boyfriend and cat. 

Couple cuddling with Cat

So that would be my perfect day. What would yours look like? I'd like to know. 

(Photos: 'My Perfect Day' Pinterest board) 

XO Panda

 

Amanda ❤

Amanda, Age 19: "It Doesn't Matter What People Think of You"

Panda at 19Before the new year started I talked about how I would give advice to my younger self at two different ages. I first talked about what I would tell 14-year old Amanda, and now I'm here to talk about what I would tell 19-year old Amanda. 

It doesn't matter what other people think about you. It's that simple. I know it's a concept that's foreign to you because you're a leo. If it's one thing that leo's are, it's that they are vain and they care about what other people think of them. Stop.  It will cause you nothing but stress and what I would say, lost time.

Right now you're going to school and have the glorious, GLORIOUS privilege of not having to work. Dad is giving you a monthly allowance and paying for school. He wants you to focus on the future. Take full advantage of that, but don't take advantage of dad. You're going to wish you hadn't squandared that opportunity in the future, because it's hard and stressful maintaining a job and school responsibilities, but it builds character nonetheless.

The thing is, even though you're going to school, he wants you to study a traditional field, teaching, while you've been interested in another field since high school. Something none of your friends have known about you is that you love magazines. Particularly fashion magazines. You started reading them when you were in 6th grade so at that age it was teen fashion magazines. Mom thought the other ones were still too mature for you. You had quite the collection of YM, Teen, Twist and the occasional Seventeen, when mom was feeling generous. 

You will remember the first one you ever bought. Sassy, with Nikki Taylor on the cover. Summer of '96. You took it to Mexico with you that summer and DEVOURED it from front to back practically every day. You loved every single picture in it: editorials, features, even the ad's. You've been hooked ever since, am I right? Fashion magazines are something that you love! In fact, you go back to school to study merchandising. It's a step in the direction that you've always wanted to go. 

Though, here's where the advice comes in, just because everyone at school knew you as a tomboy, because dad doesn't think you can make a living off of fashion, you want to do the right thing and follow the path they want you to follow, don't worry about what anyone thinks of you. Who cares that you were a tomboy? You'll grow out of it and embrace dresses, and heels, and make-up. This is something that you love and you've been ashamed to admit it because you cared about what other people would think of  you. It's coming out of the fashion closet. 

It's taken you time to admit it to yourself. After years of not going to school but working, and an additional two years practically finishing the graphic design program at school. You'll only need 3 classes to finish that program, but you'll have no inclination to go back and take them. Switching your major to fashion merchandising will be the best decision you'll have ever made and you couldn't be more happy because it's what you've wanted to do all along. Work for a magazine. You'll make your way closer to that dream, one small, slow step at a time later on. I only wish that you would have learned this lesson when your only job was to focus on school. 

You'll gain a tremendous wealth of knowledge that will eventually help with that dream, but you'll also lose time. You'll start your career late and people will underestimate and undermine you because you don't look your age. You'll wish that you would have heard this at this very time in your life. So I'm here to tell you, "It's none of your business what other people think of you." Tell dad that this is something that you want, something that you've wanted for a while and that even though you don't know if you'll make money doing it, you've got to try. Maybe you won't, but since it's your dream, you'll at least know that you'll be happy. That's something he's going to harp on about later on. "Do something that makes you happy" and fashion magazines do it for you. 

Amanda ❤

Amanda, Age 14: "Get Your Shit Together."

If you're on Instagram there's no way you cannot know about Humans of New York and it's 332,003 followers. If you haven't, well the gist is New Yorkers get their picture taken with a caption to go along with the picture. Recently, an interviewee was asked, "What advice would you give to a large group of people?" to which he responded something along the lines of, "You would get me in front of a large group of people to begin with." So the question was redirected to, "What advice would you give to your younger self?" This got me thinking because I automatically thought about two pivotal moments to which I would give two very different pieces of advice. 

14 year old AmandaWhile I'm not 14 in this picture, I could have still applied the same advice. This was sophomore year of high school at a football game with friends. The advice I'd give is, "Get your shit together." 

By this I mean, get that head of yours, straight. Now that I'm older and still going to school I know that this would be the only thing I'd stress. Currently I'm on the school Dean's list for the  second semester in a row. Dean's list is a 3.5 GPA or higher. Come next semester when they have the ceremony for Fall '13, I'll have made it to the school President's list. I know now that I'm capable of doing so much more than I thought I was capable of doing back then. 

Honestly, when I think back on it, I think sophomore year was the year that I'd given up on college, and what's that saying, "We begin to die when we give up on life before we even try?" or something like that. And now that I think about it, it's true. How can I have given up on the thought of college before I even tried? Maybe it was because I knew I didn't have the grades to get into a decent college or that my parents didn't have the money, but that's where my advice comes in. 

Focus. Apply yourself. You can get the grades you need, just get your shit together. I was more concerned about hanging out with friends than anything else. My dad would constantly lecture me about doing well in school because that's all that I had, and in true teenage fashion, it was in one ear and out the other. I thought I knew everything, but what teenager doesn't think that? 

Hindsight is 20/20 and if I'd known then what I know now, I'm pretty sure my life would be a different story. But the bright side is, I'm making up for it now. 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Amanda ❤

The Story of my High School Nickname, and How It's Still Stuck

The first year or so, of high school I hung out with what some people would deem a questionable crowd. But I'll put it bluntly. I hung out with stoners, and while a lot of people find it hard to believe, I never participated in the preferred group activity. LOL! But one day at lunch when some of them came back I didn't know I would end that day with a new nickname that would stick until this very day. 

Chris Martinez

Actually, it's really not that much of a story but here it is anyway. Freshman yeah, my friend came to the lunch table where we all used to hang out, one day, and for some reason or another decided to tickle me. Me being ticklish I reacted and jumped. That's when he said, "You just looked like popcorn". Of course, jumping around in my seat attracted a couple people and they were like, "What the heck was that?", when he proceeded to tickle me again and ask for second opinions. "Doesn't she look like popcorn?" When they all agreed, he told me, "That's what I'm going to start calling you from now on." AND IT STUCK! 

First it started with the people in the group. Then it grew, and grew, and grew. Pretty much by the end of the year, everyone was calling me "Popcorn". Now, I don't know about you, but when I think back about it, what the hell kind of nickname is "popcorn"? But that's what everyone called me. Sure enough, my yearbooks are covered in it. 

The moment, I knew it had gotten big was in 10th grade Spanish class. My teacher had asked a couple of students to pass back papers, and one of them stopped, asked out loud,  "Who's Amanda?" When I raised my hand, and they came over to me, she said, "Popcorn, you're name's 'Amanda'?" 

The sad part is, I still can't outgrow the name. Some of my high school friends still call me that without thinking twice about it. Thankfully, my new nickname is a much more cute, "Panda". 

Amanda ❤

87 Things I Love About Summer

 I have a love/hate relationship with Summer. I love it because the days are longer but I don't, simply because I get sick if it gets too hot. So here's my list of things that I do love about summer. This is a mix of things that I presently enjoy and things that I enjoyed as a kid.

DSC_1198

  1. My birthday
  2. Baseball games
  3. Visiting with family
  4. Indé
  5. Fireworks
  6. Barbecues
  7. Pool time
  8. Beach volleyball
  9. Slurpees/Icees
  10. Moonlight movies at the beach
  11. Longer days
  12. Jell-o
  13. Summer playlists
  14. Shorts
  15. Sandals/flip-flops
  16. Riding bikes
  17. Going to the beach
  18. Picnics
  19. Naps at the park
  20. Hiking
  21. Pageant of the masters
  22. Going barefoot
  23. Water balloon fights
  24. Carnivals
  25. Flying kites

HPIM0447 

  1. Airplane rides
  2. Jumping on giant trampolines
  3. Sleeping underneath the stars
  4. Mandated cleaning shifts at La palestina
  5. Ponchos
  6. Surf-N-Skate
  7. Street food
  8. Black tea with apple juice and lemonade
  9. Party poppers
  10. Board game nights
  11. Summer flings
  12. Aunts who turn their cheek when they know we've got some Squirt in our tequila. (*wink*)
  13. Discada
  14. Home made tortillas 
  15. Swings
  16. Making a haunted house in the side house
  17. La bufa
  18. Cerro blanco
  19. Riding in the backs of trucks 
  20. Pet rabbits
  21. Late night trips to Santa Maria del Oro
  22. Teriyaki burgers
  23. Dancing to banda music
  24. Crashing weddings and quinceaneras
  25. Mangoneadas

Nancy chete silvestre me

  1. Trips to the potrero
  2. Warm rain 
  3. S'mores
  4. Super Mario 
  5. Jump rope
  6. Sun kissed skin
  7. Braided hair
  8. Cracking pecans
  9. Eating pomegranates
  10. Colorful nailpolish
  11. Taking pictures with film
  12. Finding shells
  13. Warm nights
  14. Pretty bathing suits
  15. Sing-alongs
  16. Pretty pooches
  17. Swinging in hammocks
  18. Fresh fruit water
  19. Listening to 'Hotel California' on repeat
  20. Riding horses
  21. Making Limeade
  22. My grandma whistling to her birds in the morning. 
  23. Getting bit by mosquitos (NOT!)
  24. Dancing the macarena
  25. Getting pilot's wings from Delta

Hammock

  1. Fighting over the key-tar
  2. Frozen chocolate dipped bananas
  3. Naps in the grass
  4. Beach bowling 
  5. Rice Crispy treats
  6. Drinking coconut water from an actual coconut
  7. Eating figs
  8. Brinca tu Burro
  9. Summer Storms
  10. Water parks
  11. Choco-milk
  12. Making new friends
Amanda ❤