Fieldnotes From The Freebie Enthusiast

If you have been following this blog for any amount of time you have probably noticed that I post about a whole variety of things. I was really debating posting about this because who the heck is going to care…but I realize that I care and it’s my blog so I am gonna go for it.

Some time ago I signed up to participate in Influenster. Influenster is a community of trendsetters, social media hotshots, and educated consumers who live to gather opinions of products and experiences (their words, not mine). Basically the only reason I joined is because it allows me to flex my social media influence to claim exclusive offers and programs as well as  unlock discounts and promotions to redeem online based on my Social Media Influence. I have found that even if you don’t have a large influence on Social Media you can still qualify for a VoxBox!

My September VoxBox!

My September VoxBox!

A VoxBox is a cute little package that you receive in the mail. Once you open it you will find full sized samples for you to test out and review. Really, it’s the easiest thing I have ever done and its actually kinda fun too! Today I received a Degree MotionSense in Fresh Energy. One sniff and I fell in love. I am not typically into antiperspirants but this was free so I am going to give it a shot.

Now you probably just read this and thought “why on earth would she blog about this”. I am sharing it with you because I want all of you freebie enthusiasts to have a chance to do what I am doing. They have tons of different campaigns to suit tons of different interests. I have seen everything from makeup to tea to work out clothes to a digital ear thermometer. I did a little more digging and it seems that some people have even gotten a Keurig..A KEURIG! You can get complimentary full size samples of name brand products and all they ask in return is that you give tem your honest feedback . If you are interested in this opportunity free to email me at amandapedraza16@yahoo.com and I will be more than happy to help hook you up!

I apologize if this isn’t the kind of post that you were expecting from me this time but I couldn’t keep this all to myself any longer!

-Amanda

First Notch On The Belt

One year ago today I gathered my courage, held my breath, and threw my comforter over my head as I hit the “publish” button. It feels like it was only days ago that my fingers first stroked the keys and my heart spewed all over a new word document. I guess sometimes you publish and sometimes you live but sometimes you kill two birds with one stone and do both; that’s what this space has allowed me to do.

All you 1,035 subscribers and all you random readers: I want to thank you for allowing me to show up in your inbox whenever I feel like it. Thank you for taking a chance on me and being intentional and hearing me out. You have pushed me to pursue my dream and you made me realize the value of my work. I treasure your dedication to me and willingness to allow me to speak into your life. Thank you for not making me feel alone. This blog has helped me to understand that there is a whole sea of my people. People just like me. People who care entirely too much and dream a little too big. You are that people, if you weren’t you probably wouldn’t be reading this. Thank you for being my person.

-Amanda

The Best I Can

In my short 27 years on this planet I have come to realize that if I am not doing something I have a passion for, I am doing a disservice to that something. There have been a lot of times where I have told myself “I’m doing the best I can” but I’ve found that that the best I can differs from everything I can. Doing everything we can often makes us uncomfortable so we settle, pat ourselves on the back and say, “this is the best I can do” because that is the best we are comfortable doing.

If we treat what we do (volunteering, careering, family, schooling) as an obligation, those who see it as a privilege and/or calling will conquer us. They will slowly creep up, filled with joy and love and out “do” us because they have a little something up their sleeve called passion.

Find your passion. If you’ve already found it, pull it out from the basement, dust it off and fan the flame. Let it consume.

-Amanda

I Just Can’t Get Into Shark Week This Year

My newsfeed has been buzzing the past few days. Between the Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. and Robin Williams my social media has been flooded with posts. Pro Russia Separatists fired rockets at Ukraine, ISIS starts a Christian genocide, and Gaza is bombing the Holy Land but over here in America, we are losing our minds about the death of an actor or the fact that we forgot to DVR Shark Week. Don’t get me wrong I am saddened by the recent deaths of celebrities …it’s just that my heart is aching over something else. The only thing on my mind has been Iraq.

The third largest city in Iraq, Mosul, has been occupied by the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria; better known as ISIS. If the members of the community in Mosul and now the surrounding cities refuse to convert to Islam, they are given some “options”. They can flee the city, pay a fine, or be killed. Due to this radical takeover, thousands of Christians have decided to flee and they are now refugees in their own country. They fled to the mountains and are reportedly dying due to starvation and dehydration. Christians that didn’t get out of the city in time or decided to pay the fine probably have had a much different fate. It seems that the men are murdered and the women and children are raped and/or sold for sex. The most heart wrenching is what allegedly has happened to children. There have been accounts of these sweet, precious, babies also being raped, beheaded, and even sold for sex. I read an article that actually claimed that there are images circulating of prepubescent boys being raped until they accept Islam as their religion AND join ISIS.

It’s hard for me to digest the images that I have viewed. This group seems to be targeting everyone that disagrees with their religious views. It is believed that ISIS is so extreme that al-Qaida wants nothing to do with them.

I am aware that this is a heavy topic but I couldn’t sit silent any longer. These stories tear away at my soul. ISIS is an organization that has committed heinous acts of violence and violated many human rights of fellow believers but as much as I want to hate them, I can’t. As Christians we must band together in prayer for our brothers and sisters that are caught in this persecution as well as for the members of this militant group that are committing these crimes against humanity. Let’s stand up and raise our hands to our Heavenly Father and cry out to him in prayer. I am praying that He reveal Himself in dreams and visions to everyone that is involved. What are you praying for?

-Amanda

*If you want, you can check out this link that breaks down ISIS a little bit more of a simple manner. I am not trying to incite panic; I am merely raising a little awareness.
 

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Cosmetic Contempt

I used to love wearing my mom’s makeup. In prepubescent years, I was always getting in to her blackest black mascara and dusty rose blush. I remember standing next to her in the bathroom and hoping that I would grow up quick so I could wear makeup. Of all things, I loved to watch her put on mascara. After a stint of chemo and radiation my mom lost all of her hair; eyelashes and brows included. I remember watching her fumble around with false lashes and eventually tossing them in trash. Since she had no lashes, she now focused on her brows. I was mesmerized by her brow application. Her intricate configurations were crafted so artistically that they were transformed into symmetrical eyebrows. For my mom, an eyebrow pencil was a safety blanket, a preemptive step she took so others would see past her illness. If she was able so go grocery shopping without all eyes on her and games of 20 questions, she was happy.

I was hooked.

My love for makeup quickly dissipated as I hit puberty. Wearing make up was cool. Being cool was important, I wanted to wear make up but I didn’t know how to apply it. Everyone else wore makeup to look like they didn’t have any on. When I put it on, I looked like I was part of a traveling circus. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even dabble in eye makeup until my senior year of high school. I was rather confident in my youth but in the back of my mind I didn’t want anyone to think that I was conceited. So after brushing my teeth in the mornings I would reach for my Lip Smackers Dr. Pepper chap stick and swipe a Bonne Bell shimmer and head for the bus stop.

Jump to 2014- I’m done with cool and my hand is a bit more steady. I think it’s safe to say that I love mascara more than the average woman (probably more nostalgic than anything) and I also love bright lips. I’m pretty certain that they love me right back.

Since I have started to embrace my love for makeup I have had people offer up their “advice” about it. It wasn’t until I hosted an online Younique makeup party, I got my first real taste of makeup shaming. It’s funny how all the “we are moms, we are one” talk differs so much when one of the moms wears makeup.

“God loves you just the way you are” followed by “so why do you hide behind all that makeup?”

Yes, it is true that God loves me. I know that and I know that His love for me is unwavering. I don’t need to look good to feel His love. I feel confident when I make the makeup work for me, and not in spite of me. Just because I love makeup doesn’t mean that I don’t love me.

“I could never wear that much eye makeup, it would make me feel really fake.”

Personalities make people fake. Wearing make up doesn’t make me superficial. It also doesn’t mean I’m an unhappy person if I don’t feel most confident with a naked face.

“In my opinion, I think women look better without makeup.”

Thank you for your opinion but I don’t wear makeup to impress men. In fact, most women I know don’t either. I am married to a man who gets to see me with greasy hair and a heinous breakout as well as made up and dewy. Thankfully, he recognizes that I’m more than the makeup I wear.

“You don’t have to wear it you know.”

I am fully aware that makeup isn’t a necessity. I would never tell you that you “have” to wear it. I fully understand that some women may paint their face up every morning simply for the sake of obligation. I am not that woman.

And that leads me to my personal favorite:

“You shouldn’t need to wear makeup to feel beautiful, just sayin.”

Here’s the kicker: I don’t think I am hideous without makeup. I don’t think I’m smokin’ hot with it either. I do leave the house without makeup on. Actually, I don’t typically wear makeup on The weekends unless I have plans. However, if I’m going out to dinner or even to church, I do put the effort in. I also don’t wear makeup because that’s what I am “supposed” to do. Sometimes I want to look feminine and romantic. Sometimes I want to look like a BOSS.

All in all,everyone is entitled to their own opinion and this is mine: If you like to get your contour on, do it, but be kind. If you don’t, don’t, but be kind.

-Amanda

P.S. Today is Saturday; a no makeup day.

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I’m Calling You Out

As I scrolled through my newsfeed I noticed a trend. I kept running into posts of people being “called out” to post x amount of pictures that make them BEAUTIFUL. I saw some of the most raw photos from people that have experienced struggle. I even went a head and liked a few of them.

That evening I got back on Facebook and upon, refreshing I noticed that people were still being “called out” but the wording had changed and so had the pictures. I was now reading status’s that were asking the individuals that were tagged to post pictures that made them PRETTY.

My newsfeed was now flooded with peace sign selfies, duck lip selfies, and the infamous bathroom mirror selfie.

My worst fear came true.

A little red number 1 popped up in my notifications. I was leery about even checking it. My finger hovered over it for a few seconds before I took a deep breath and touched the earth icon.

There it was.

Shannon mentioned you in her comments”

My heart sank.

I got “called out” to post 10 pictures of things that make me BEAUTIFUL.

Let’s just let that sink in for a little bit.

10 pictures.

10 PICTURES!

Now, I don’t typically get down with the “like this picture or bloody Mary is going to kill you tonight” but this one had me intrigued, so I gave it a little thought.

I decided to look up the definition of the word beauty as well as the definition of the word pretty. It was perplexing to me as to how the two seemingly interchangeable words got the ole switcheroo.

Beauty is the quality that is present in something that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind. While the word pretty means that something that is pleasing or attractive to the eye

With a better understanding of the two words, I began my search in looking for images of things that have shaped my life and molded my heart. Basically, I was looking for things that made me, me.

10.

10 things to post.

10 wasn’t enough. I needed more. I found that there are certainly more than 10 things that make me beautiful.

In the beginning the task was a little daunting but the more I understood beauty the easier it got.

By the end of the night I finally narrowed my selections down to 10. I eventually posted my non-negotiables; the things that make me tick; the things that led me to self love and strangely enough, I even felt good about it.

My photos are at the end of this post and the explanations are below. 

My Husband: The passion the burns inside of him is beautiful…even if it is for guns. He puts his mind to things and makes moves. He is the reason I started this blog. He told me I could, and I believed it.

My Audacious 3 Year Old: This boy has so much drive that it drives me crazy. He’s not always sweet but when he loves, he loves so hard it’ll rock your world.

My Software Programer 7 year old: the kids a wiz on the computer. He’s brilliant. He’s also has so much compassion that it’s bursting at the seams. He cares about ALL people and has genuine concern about others well being.

This Blog: Writing has been my dream for as long as I can remember but it’s was never cool. Now that I’m older I don’t necessarily worry about being cool. I just want to be me and this page allows me to be all the me I want.

Scripture: I picked this passage in particular because it is a reflection of my past life. I am thrilled that I realized that I needed to surrender my life to Christ to be free.

The cross: I am running into marvelous light because if it.

My Mom: She loved fiercely and passed that trait down to me.

Wedding Rings on Fire Sauce: I sobbed at my own wedding. I’m talking ugly cry, and the raw love I have for my husband was finally exposed for all (and myself) to see.

Filling Home: I have invested my life in my career and my career has truly invested itself in my life and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Silly Face: I don’t want to ever be so grown up that I can’t laugh at myself or be silly.

Maybe you’ve already posted your pictures, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’re not into that sort of thing, maybe you are but this is me “calling you out” to not just settle for pretty

-Amanda

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*Shannon is an Origami Owl designer. She utilizes her commission to help fund her adoption. If you’re looking to host a jewelry bar, she’s your gal!

Another case of the Mondays

Today was Monday.

I wasn’t exactly feeling awesome.

Actually, for the past week I have been feeling a tad inadequate and overwhelmed.

Nothing in particular really, just life in general tends to smother me every once in awhile but this time I couldn’t quite shake it.

Every time I turned around I encountered rude people, social media, rude people on social media, rude social media about people, oh and pictures of kittens.

The kittens part is just some inner turmoil I’m experiencing because we are waiting until the end of summer to get a couple kittens and I am dying to snuggle with them RIGHT MEOW!

See what I did there?

Back to where this post is going.

I don’t get to read in the morning as much as is like because I tend to wake up and just barely have enough time to get myself together and get to work.

But this morning, this morning was different.

This morning I accidentally hit my “Holy Bible” app.

Crap, I don’t have time for this.

I like to play it up like God and I are tight, I’m talking like Puff Daddy and Biggie Smalls tight. In reality, Its more of a P. Diddy and J. Biebs type of deal. God got me to where I wanted and I bounced saying ” thanks, but I can take it from here big man”.

This morning I was reminded that I need Him (God, not P.Diddy), everyday, all the time. He has taught my heart a few lessons. He has shown me that I am brave. He reminds me that I am a generous soul, that I don’t hesitate to leap when others shrink back in fear. He emphasizes how much my work means to me and how others can’t help but feel inspired by that.

Wanna know what He said about you?

Word is that you are a warrior and you never seem to stop standing up and speaking up and doing your very best work. You even do it with joy. 

Sometimes, we feel like we aren’t appreciated, that doesn’t matter in the long run because of our relentless generosity in sharing our gifts. 

He can’t wait to see what we’ll come up with next…and quite frankly neither can I

-Amanda




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