Reflection

February 2017 Gratitude

I'm a firm believer in showing gratitude for the things that we receive. I like to take a few minutes at the end of the day to write them down and so here are all of the things that I was grateful for in February. 

February-2017-Gratitude

  1. Spending time at the park
  2. Max sleeping in bed with me
  3. The rain
  4. Dance nights
  5. Taking my shoes off after a long day
  6. Starting water week
  7. School starts. My final FM class
  8. Falling asleep early
  9. I think I'm ready to take this fashion entrepreneur class
  10. The rain, again
  11. Hulu
  12. It being warm enough to go to the beach today
  13. That I don't have to pay of going to the doctor
  14. Spending time with Gary
  15. Antibiotic ointment
  16. Starting my morning with Daybreaker
  17. That Max didn't fight me when I gave him his bath today
  18. Getting off work early
  19. Reading while taking a hot bath
  20. Being able to trust the Universe
  21. That Gary comes back today! 
  22. Almost two weeks into my fitness
  23. Salads from SaladFarm
  24. Started Vaquita ad
  25. Work out Rest day
  26. Did the beach clean up
  27. Taking Gary to the Aquarium for his first time
  28. My bed after a long day

Do you regularly write down the things that you're grateful for? What are some of the things you were grateful for in February, or this month so far? 

Amanda ❤

On Sensitivity and Empathy

On those rare days when I'm completely off from everything (work, school, internship) as guilty as I feel for doing it, I usually tend to lay in bed all day lulling in and out of sleep while watching Netflix. Last Friday was no different. I woke up in time to watch 'The Amazing Race' with my sister and it was during that time that I heard about the situation in Paris. 

On-Sensitivity-and-Empathy

As news kept pouring in about the situation, my heart ached a little more every time there was an update. Such a senseless act on completely innocent people. Turns out, one of those murdered was a study abroad student from Cal State Long Beach named Nohemi Gonzalez who was studying design at the Strade. 

I know I usually don't tend to write about current events but I felt the need to after CHPG brought up a point on Saturday night while I was talking to him.

I was telling him that I wanted to do something. Like setting up a donation box at work or donating tips or something. I wanted to do something. Needed to do something. That I just felt so horrible for her family and friends, when I started crying. 

That's when I said something that had never occurred to me until him. He told me that I somehow have this weird way of feeling somebody's pain without even having to go through that particular experience. He noticed it awhile back ago when telling me about his particular childhood experiences. That even though I hadn't been what he was describing to me, he could tell that it hurt me just as much as it would have had I actually experienced it. 

And I guess that's where this post comes from. I can feel what her friends and family are going through, despite not knowing them, and it's such a heartbreaking feeling. To lose her in such a senseless act a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. To not have been able to say "goodbye" or "I love you" when the last thing they might have said to her was, "I'll talk to you later." To know that for the next couple of years, Thanksgiving will only be marred by the thought of such a tragic loss. 

It makes me want to let all my friends and family know that even though I may not talk to them every day, that I love them all so very much. I'm particular about the people who I allow body contact with, but those that I do feel comfortable touching, it makes me want to hug them more, hug them tighter, hug them for a second more because I don't know when if I'll be able to do it again. 

So I ask you to do the same. Call, text, snapchat your loved ones. Let them know you care. Let them know that you love them. Appreciate them. Vocalize it. Don't be one of those people that says, "They know that I love them." Let them know. Everyone needs a reminder of it every once in a while. Let that be today. Let them know that you think about them. 

Photo Credit: Katya Smolina

Amanda ❤

What is an Emotional Guinea Pig?

Emotional Guinea PigHey Bears! 

It's Monday and I'm here to talk about emotional guinea pigs. I know it sounds a little ludicrous but I have an emotional guinea pig and I'm so grateful for it. 

So what exactly is an emotional guinea pig, you ask? We've all had previous relationships where things turn out not so well and when everything is said and done, you've been left with battle scars, right? 

Scars like fear and unworthiness. We question some aspects of ourselves and vow to not be hurt the same way again. You've put your hand too close to the stove and you've been burned. You've learned your lesson. But the question is, what's so wrong with getting burned? 

We give of ourselves but we hold back ten or twenty percent of what we have to give or feel to ensure that the person that we trust our hearts to doesn't hurt us completely. 

What's wrong with being completely foolish and letting yourself feel? 

Now back to the emotional guinea pig part. 

An emotional guinea pig is someone with whom you are willing to let yourself open up completely to. Despite the fears that have grown in you. Despite the hurt you've felt before. It's the person who you trust to still like and love you when the emotionally ugly side rears it's head when you decide to confront it. It's the person that you say, "I wouldn't normally do this" to. 

When I was seeing a therapist, it was suggested that I should let people know my emotions. 

CHPG is my emotional guinea pig. I've revealed so many things to him. Things I would have just let fester inside myself. I've allowed myself to feel 100% again with him. It's scary because I'm letting myself be so vulnerable, and being on the Cancer/Leo cusp, vulnerable is not something I'm not very comfortable allowing myself to be. It's not something very many people are comfortable allowing themselves to be but it's oh so essential. 

Why do kids always find the smallest things extraordinary? Because they're experiencing them for the first time. Why is it that things that you experience for the first time are so exhilarating? Because you've decided to do it, and when you do it, you're letting yourself feel 100% for a short period of time. 

So confront your fears. Be vulnerable. Let yourself feel. Put your heart on your sleeve. Find your emotional guinea pig. 

XO Amanda

Photo Credit: Paige'X

Amanda ❤

'Push' in 2014: A OLW Update

This time last year I started thinking about the word that I wanted to focus on for 2014. I chose the word 'push' because I didn't feel like I was getting as much out of life as I thought I should be getting. 

Push 2014 OLW Update

I'm glad I made that choice. 

One year later and I'm significantly happier than I was last year and I feel it's all due to that one little word. 

So I wanted to talk about some of the ways that I've pushed myself in 2014. 

First up, school. I've been in school for the entire year. Spring, Summer, Fall, and I'm currently looking at the list of available classes for the Winter quarter. I've been pushing myself to get done with school. Realizing that graphic design wasn't what I truly wanted to do with my life during the last semester of the program was a slight setback, but it only allowed me to come to grips with the fact that I was a fashion girl and nothing was going to stop me of being envious of the students in that particular program, unless I myself became one as well. I've mentioned that it was one of the best decisions of my life and I maintain that. 

Next, that stupid depression affliction that previously plagued my life. I knew something was off. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I'm constantly posting positive messages and affirmations. Finding out who Norman Vincent Peale is has helped tremendously in that aspect. Positive thinking and positivity training has kept me out of those dark pits even when I was on the verge of heading back in that direction. Thank goodness for cognitive behavioral therapy. 

Next up, work. I had been working at my previous job for five years and I didn't see myself moving up any further than where I had gotten. I was working from home which had it's perks but I was unfulfilled. I sat in front of my window everyday literally watching the day go by. Were it not for a chance decision I would probably still be there.

The store manager at one of my local Starbucks had been trying to recruit me for a year or so. Soon, a whole new set of employees were at my normal location which left me wondering where everyone had gone. Total kismet that I decide to go to another location after getting off the train and low and behold that's where they had all gone. He looked at me and said, "I know you hate your job now. Put in an application. The job's yours." That's what I did and I have no regrets about it. I have love for each and every one of my partners. I've never been one to say this but "Teamwork makes the dream work" comes out of my mouth at least once a week now. 

Lastly, another area where I think I've really pushed myself is in the people / personal connections department. In the Spring Semester I joined the Literature Club at school and even became the club's Historian for the semester. I've met some really great people through the club, one of which has become one of my closest friends.

Also, there was a guy who I deemed Cute Headphone Guy, CHPG for short. After months of having a crush on him, I finally decided to tell him that I thought he was handsome, with some elbowing from said Lit Club friend, but I failed to ask his name. I kind of ran away like a five-year old as soon as I told him. Then after completely regretting not getting his name and kicking myself in the butt repeatedly for it, I finally had the chance to ask when I saw him on the train. I kind of did it in a creepy fashion but we all know I like the direct approach. Whatever. It works for me. We've been talking and hanging out ever since. 

Tweet: "Life is about courage and going into the unknown."

I like that I chose 'Push'. I think I want to keep 'Push'. Except I want to push harder in 2015. I want to check off more than a handful of items off my list. I want to add more to my list. I want to more experiences. I want MORE from life. 

The other day he was trying to explain Qi to me, and he asked if I had ever been *SO* inspired by a movie that it left me with boundless energy and made me feel like anything was possible. At the time I said no, but the next day I had remembered the feeling I had got when I saw 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'. He reminded me of my One Little Word and reinspired me. I've got a new fire under me to continue crossing out and adding new items to my adventure list. 

'Push' has been a good word for me this year. So I'm still on the fence about keeping it or going for 'Harder', as in 'Push Harder'. Truthfully, I still like 'Push'. I may just keep it. 

XO Amanda

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 ❤

Shift

Shift

This may seem like a regular box of takeout to you, but there's a story behind this. It's going to take a minute to get to, but trust me. 

A couple of months ago I decided I wanted to start reading the bible. I'm not religious in any way. I was baptized Catholic, went to the Kingdom Hall with my mom when I was younger but never really had any association with a particular religion. I just decided it was something that I should do. 

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I wanted to start taking notes when it comes to what I've read. I read chapter by chapter. I take notes on who's in the chapter, words I've looked up in the dictionary, things I find interesting in the passage, and a short 2-4 sentence summary of what I've just read. I'm reading the New King James version and as far as I know, there aren't really any study guides to aid in doing so, but I also haven't googled any because honestly I'm lazy and I'm not too preoccupied about it. I do it my own way, the same way I do Christianity. On my own terms. I believe in God. I have my own personal relationship with him and I think that's what really matters. Not the fact that I don't go to church or say "For Christ's sake" far too many times than I'd like to admit. 

I don't go to church, although about three years ago, I went almost every week for the better part of three to four months. I also go when I'm in Mexico because my grandparents literally live right next door to the church. By that I mean, it's less than 100 feet from my grandparent's front door to the front door of the church. It's a small town, there's bell ringing involved, and I'm a light sleeper. But I don't really pay attention because mass is in Spanish and I have no idea what they're saying. 

Before I read the bible, I always pray. It's nothing overzealous but more straightforward and to the point. "I'll try not to be too cynical when reading tonight, because this is just a book, a book about your word. There are things that aren't relevent in todays world but there are things that are. I'll try to have an open heart and open mind while reading and I'll try to find ways to apply those things in life." 

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The other day I took a chicken breast out of the freezer to defrost so that I could make chicken stir fry for dinner after work. I didn't have a wok so I went to go buy a cheap one really quick. 

On my way home, I saw a homeless man sitting on the corner of the main cross streets. Immediately I thought, "I wonder if he'd like a homecooked meal. Who knows when the last time he had one was." He was sitting there as if he were getting ready to hunker down for the night. I wasn't feeling particularly hungry so I immediately decided that I was going to cook the chicken for him. 

It made me smile.  Matter of fact, while I was cooking the chicken and vegetables, I couldn't help but smile.  I kept thinking he would react in a positive manner. I found a to go box, packed the food in, grabbed a plastic fork, and some napkins and headed for the door. 

Long Beach has a very high homeless population. I also know that people can act very hostile given the situation, but I kept hoping for the best. 

I walked down the street to the corner where I saw him thinking about how I would approach him. What would I say? "I thought you'd like some food."  Would that come out wrong? How about, "I made you a homecooked meal."? Would he say some thing sarcastic to that? "What if he's allergic to something in here?" Would he eat the vegetables? Was I overthinking this? "I think I'm overthinking this." Just walk up to him, hold out the food and say, "I made you some food. I hope you'll like it." Yes, that's it. "I made you some food. I hope you like it." 

As I got closer to the corner I couldn't help but smile. Somebody that I wanted to help. 

Expecting to see the man sitting there, maybe laying down, getting ready to sleep, I turned the corner to find that in reality, he had left. Both he and the meager possessions that he owned were gone. I looked around to see if he had simply moved. Maybe into the bushes where people might not be able to see him or cops bother him for sleeping on the sidewalk, but nothing. He was gone. 

And just like that, my happiness faded away. Here was someone that I really wanted to help, and they were gone. I ended up taking the food home and tried to eat it myself but I just couldn't enjoy it and left it for my sister to eat when she got off work. 

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There are dozens of people asking for help a day on the Metro while I make my way to school, and truthfully, I usually ignore them. I don't know what possessed me to think about helping him and actually following through to some extent, but I'd like to think it was God working through me in a way that would work for me. Not in some grandiose manner, but in a way that I could empathize with. Although I find things questionable while reading the bible, I think it's actually presented a shift in the way I'm seeing things. Or maybe it's just me growing older, and therefore hopefully wiser, but who knows? 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

IRDGAF

GOMI post

"But I don't want him to think that I'm being mean to him". 

"That's your problem. You want people to like you." I said. 

That's a bit of a conversation I had with my dad yesterday while I was helping him try to find a cover for his Nook. He was telling me about his cousin sending him a request to like some random page on Facebook, even though I had told him he didn't have to accept it. 

He then laughed at me. If there is one thing that I've learned early on in my youth was that not everybody is going to like you. I'm perfectly fine with that. Your opinion of me is none of my business. 

"If you don't like me, that's YOUR problem, not mine. Deal with it." 

Another laugh. 

The reason I bring this up is because about a week and a half ago, there was a big hubbub in the lifestyle blogging world, where one popular blogger called out another for false claims of design abilities. 

Another reason I bring this up is because I have sponsered the accused blogger a few times before so while reading the accusers post I learned about a site called 'Get Off My Internets', GOMI for short. I've been reading threads in the forum and came to the conclusion that the posters don't like these particular bloggers for whatever reason. I don't know. While it is disheartening to see/ read these things, I know that it's also a part of life.  A part that I have no issue with. 

You simply cannot please everybody. In fact, I expect to not please everybody. That's not what I put here for. The only person I have to please is myself. If I'm happy then that's all that matters. If I don't feel that I'm lacking in any sort of way, then I'm good.  Which is also my problem with a lot of kids shows these days, but that's a whole other post. 

In short, I *REALLY* don't give a rat's ass if you like me or not. If it ever got to the point where I became a topic in that thread, I really wouldn't care. The opinions and comments of others really wouldn't and won't devalue the life that I live. 

Just putting some thoughts out there. 

XO Panda
Amanda ❤

Thankful Thirty Challenge- COMPLETE

Thankful-Thirty-Title

Is it seriously July already? Where did the time go? Is my birthday in only 22 more days? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON, HERE?!?!?! That's obviously a post for another time but for now I wanted to let you know that yes, I was able to keep up and complete my June Thankful Thirty challenge. 

In June:

  • I am thankful for finding inspiration and being renewed in blogging.
  • I am thankful for the quietness of the early morning before people wake up and the birds start chirping. 
  • I am thankful for my bed!
  • I am thankful for having days off. 
  • I am thankful for Netflix. 
  • I am thankful for days when time goes by super fast. 
  • I am thankful that Jim Henson existed and that he followed his heart and passion
  • I am thankful for people in the fashion business who enjoy working with students. 
  • I am thankful for naps. 
  • I am thankful for happy mail from friends in far off places. 
  • I am thankful for fresh strawberries.
  • I am thankful for days off in the middle of the week. 
  • I am thankful that today is my Friday. 
  • I am thankful for seeing friends that I haven't seen in months. 
  • I am thankful for the hair I have the day after I wash my hair. 
  • I am thankful for choosing to be a champion today. 
  • I am thankful for stretch day. 
  • I am thankful for business opportunities that present themselves. 
  • I am thankful for clear Southern California days. 
  • I am thankful for grilled cheese sandwiches. 
  • I am thankful for my mom because today is her birthday. 
  • I am thankful for finding that I have a passion for helping people get fit. 
  • I am thankful that my dad comes back from Mexico today. 
  • I am thankful for finishing plyo and not passing out. 
  • I am thankful for Fedex. 
  • I am thankful for feeling my body getting stronger. 
  • I am thankful for ice. 
  • I am thankful to have Anna as my coach.
  • I am thankful for having a fan.
  •  I am thankful to finally have a sunday off since January. 

So there we go. I realize I should have numbered them instead of using bullet points, but just remember it's for every day of the month. What are some things that you're thankful for. I realize some of mine may seem a little materialistic but hey! Aren't you thankful that Netflix exists too? 

Amanda ❤

Hello To A Year of Dancing

Have you ever had something so magical or traumatic happen to you that you either A.) haven't done it since because you want that thing to keep the magic that it presented, or B.) Haven't done it since because you've been unable to overcome a mental block? 

For me, that thing has been dancing. I've always loved dancing. Since I was small, and by small, I mean 4 years old. Since I was 4 years old, I was involved in dancing in some type of way. I found joy in dancing. The movements. The way a song could motivate me to move. Feeling the rhythm in my body. Up until seven years ago.

Seven years ago, I met somebody completely magical in my life and we would always dance. Danced while cooking dinner. Danced while doing laundry. Driving down the road and pulled into a gas station one night just to dance under a street light. It was our thing. And then that person went away, and I was unable to dance after that. 

In my head, I held dancing as being magical and something that only felt right with that person. There are still things that I've held onto as being reserved for that person, but I've had a mental block for the last seven years and haven't been able to enjoy dancing the way I used to. That's something I want to overcome.

This year, I want to start dancing again. 

And I will. 

Enter, 'A Year of Dancing'. 

Every week for an entire year, I want to dance, so I've challenged myself to make a video of me dancing and posting about it here. 

This first video is blurry and my head got cut out but that's the way it came out and I'm not re-doing it. These will be a one-shot thing. No re-do's. How it comes out, is how it comes out and I'm not fixing them. 

So without fur ado, this weeks song: Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars

 

Amanda ❤