When You Don't Feel Like You Anymore...

It's such a peculiar phrase.
"I haven't been feeling like myself lately."
I just find it so interesting that your sense of self has an actual feeling to it and when we humans don't recognize that feeling anymore, we have a sudden urge to fix it. At least most of us.

I go through this cycle too often and I blame it on the little empath inside of me. The majority of society can go throughout their lives with the same old, not really noticing a difference, but once I start feeling out of touch with who I really am, even for even a second, it's instant sadness. It's literally like a million dementors are following me everywhere sucking out all the energy out of me.

While I was riding my bike today, I thought, "Well...what usually helps me get back on track to feeling like me?" 

First we have to answer the question: What makes us feel so far away from our true selves?
I think it's autopilot. Getting so caught up in materialism and consumerism. Gosh, I sound like that kid in your college psychology class that thought the matrix was real and and only wore bell bottom jeans and Tony Hawk hoodies. But seriously. We need to focus on what's real. What made you happy as a little kid? What were your aspirations in high school? What do you want your life to be as you grow older? That's the real stuff.



Personally, for me to get back on track to being myself, I like to:
  • Watch / read Harry Potter. This is a big one for me. Harry Potter has been such a big part of my life. First of all, it has connected me to some of my best relationships. It's taken me to several different states, concerts, parties, conventions. It's taught me more than almost anything or anyone. Considering it's such a big part of my life, it's now a big part of me. I can't actively participate in the fandom as much as used to be able to, but I like to get a taste of it every now and then.
  • Perform. Although I'm quite the critic, I almost cry at every theatrical performance, whether I'm on stage, backstage or in the audience. I don't always have the opportunity to get up on stage, but when I do, I feel like me. As I've gotten older, I realized my view on performance has changed, but I still love it as much as I always have. 
  • Disney it up. What is it about Disney that makes me feel so warm and fuzzy? Whether it be going to Disneyland or watching a Disney movie...or even playing Kingdom Hearts, it connects me to my soul. Yesyesyes.
  • Get in touch with nature. There was a point in my life where nature was the ultimate bae. It made me grow spiritually. I was literally reading transcendentalist poetry, walking in the woods, meditating, drinking green tea and sunbathing on the daily. I'm not that kind of person, but I'm glad I had that stage to my life. Now I know nature is necessary for me. I am apart of nature, and I think everyone can find themselves if they get a little lost in the woods. I remember one specific time I had a family party at a park in mid October. There were these deep woods in the back, and I remember just running through them. The sun peeking through, the aroma of maple trees and dying leaves. Burning wood from the distance...it was so beautiful. I felt like I was at a Native American reservation hiding from the John Smiths of the world. It was an awesome adventure.
  • Listen to some throwback music. Don't let throwbacks come to you, come to them! Some old school Mayday Parade? Some Jonas Brothers? Some unreleased 2009 Lana Del Rey? Some classic 2000s R&B Jams by Paula Deanda? The Hairspray Broadway soundtrack? YES PLEASE. It really can bring out feelings in you that you haven't felt in a while. New music comes out on a daily basis so we tend to forget about our old favorite jams that we used to be obsessed with. Well, don't! If they meant a lot to you before, I guarantee you that hasn't changed.
I watched a video yesterday that I really wanted to share with you all. Lady Gaga has actually have some pretty intelligent stuff to say. My favorite quote from the video:
"I feel sad when I am overworked and that I've just become a moneymaking machine, and that my passion and creativity take a backseat. That makes me unhappy. So what did I do? I started to stay no. I don't wanna do that. I'm not taking that picture, I'm not going to that event, I'm not standing by that cause that's not what I stand for. And slowly but surely, I remembered who I am."
http://pinkchanelsuit.tumblr.com/post/132033293502

Do you have integrity? Do you know who you are? Are you living your life on your own terms or are you unconsciously communicating lies?

I think that's what happens to me. I become an autopilot, moneymaking machine. An image that's afraid to say no. A prisoner of corporate society. Someone who left behind her childhood dreams and wide eyed optimism for approval of others.

That's not me, and I can't let that catch up to me. You know what song perfectly describes how I'm feeling right now? Sellout by Never Shout Never. Listen below.



Feeling like you is hard sometimes when there's only so much time in a day. But that's okay because you have the opportunity to fix that! Some people don't even care to notice and then five years go by and they've really done nothing beside be a ghost in their own body. Don't let parts of you go dormant because you're focused on showcasing inauthenticity to the world.

XOXO & be YOSELF,
Maria Elena

#GrowingUpShady

When I'm having a bad day, memes save my life. 

The meme that I've been obsessed with lately is the #growingupshady meme. I was conditioned to be ashamed of my inevitable shadiness but this meme makes me proudly embrace the sass inside of me.

Here are some of my favorites, so you can understand the general theme:







People are prone to act like talking about people is a bad thing. Like any form of gossip is the worst thing anyone could ever do. When in reality, everyone does it. It's how you do it that matters.

I've learned to do it with pride and own up to everything I say. So if I'm gonna talk shit, I am prepared to face it and get hit. In other words, I would never talk shit about somebody and then be their best friend the next day. Not in my character. However, if I say "Wow, I can't believe Bob drunkenly hit on his best friends girlfriend!," and Bob finds out I said that...

I'm gonna be like, "Yeah, Bob. I said that. And?"

I like having metaphorical tea parties. I like having intellectual conversations about people and their decisions. But when I throw shade, it's never looking down on a person. I'm real witchu. I'm straight up. Most of the time, it's all fun and games. But #GrowingUpShady makes life a little bit more interesting.

I remember in a literature class I had a while back, we were talking about how often we gossip about other individuals. The entire class all reacted as if they never said a word about anyone in their entire lives. I knew everyone in the class quite well, so I said, "Okay. I'm gonna talk about the elephant in the room here: YOU ALL TALK ABOUT PEOPLE. I've heard you all talk about people. Infact, you've all gossiped about each other. It's not a bad thing. Things happen and people talk about it. Not in a negative sense, but just because it happened." Everyone nervously laughed but ended up agreeing.

We need to think about the society we live in. Art is about PEOPLE. The media talks about PEOPLE. You can't really get away with talking about anything unless it involves people. So why do we look down on shady individuals like myself?

I guess I like having juice. I love me some pipin hot tea. Although I always was the innocent / quiet type, I always knew everything. Like Gretchen Weiners, my hair was full of secrets. Except this time around...I'm not ashamed.

#growingupshady

The PMS Package is Every Girl's Dream

Lately, I've been feeling somewhat burned out, chronically tired, and a little bit sick. I think that's why 'The PMS Package' from October has my heart.
I simply adore how it's themed! Really brightened my mood. 

Trick or treat teddy bear + fuzzy socks + bath bomb + pumpkin lotion + chocolate =

Naturally, a TREAT YO SELF kind of night.

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When I first found out about PMS Package, I instantly thought of how innovative it was. I don't think men will ever truly understand how much of inconvenience periods are. It's like being terribly sick except it's every month and there's no cure. With PMS Package, it gives you something to look forward to. You have all the things you need in a cutely packaged box. 

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Here's how they work:




The October Ipsy Glam Bag! {excitement}

Out of the spur of the moment, I decided to order my first Ipsy bag. Let's take a look!

This is the look I did with the matte liquid lipstick, black pencil eyeliner and pumpkin facial scrub from October's Ipsy Glam Bag! Not bad for a girl who has no idea what she's doing when it comes to makeup.


It features: 
Pumpkin facial scrub by Peter Lamas
This stuff is to die for. A natural light brown transparent scrub with exfoliating power that doesn't leave you dry. And OH EM GEE, the pumpkin scent is to die for. I kept rubbing it near my nose so I could smell it. But seriously, you could actually feel it making your skin soft.
Black eyeliner by Coastal Scents
Nothing to rave about, nothing to complain about. I don't use eyeliner too often, and if I do, it's usually not pencil. But for what it is, it's fine.
Coconut hand cream from Delectable
Smells like coconut cream pie. Feels like coconut cream pie. I'm starting to think it might be liquified coconut cream pie in a bottle.
Gel navy blue nail polish from AURORA
While it was a fun choice to add this to the October bag, I wish the items were more themed. This could've been a nice shade of orange. 
Matte liquid lipstick by TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes
Love love love! As much as I've always admired matte lipsticks, I never actually had the guts to purchase one. This stayed on my lips all night, even after eating 3,000 calories of popcorn. 
Gold clutch
I am head over heels for the size and simple gold/black color scheme of this clutch. You can use it for makeup, your keys/phone, or...a bunch of hot sauce packets like me.

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Ipsy is only $10 a month and it truly is always a surprise. It makes you feel like a little girl again! It's like Christmas every month! I don't know if I'm gonna continue to subscribe because I like to spend money on food and travel and more food, but I find it super tempting to stay. For all the sample sized and full sized products you get, I don't see why not to subscribe. And if you don't find use for a product you get? Use it as a gift! 

I'd like to see Ipsy gear their bags with more of a theme based on seasons, current events, and holidays and I would like Ipsy to try to make the bags a bit more personalized. Other than that, what they do is great. Check out their site here!

What Being a Blogger is Really Like

I never know how to tell people I'm a blogger. 

"So, Maria, what do you do in your free time? What are your goals? What is your hobby? Your passions? Where do you see yourself in a few years?"
...Blogging, blogging, blogging, blogging and blogging.

But it's never that simple. I can't just come out and say that.

Some people have no idea what a blogger is. Some people don't view it as a career. And even those who do, don't really understand what being a blogger really means.

It's hard to describe, you know? 

I created my blog so I could have an artistic platform for my thoughts and experiences and so I could live my life inspiring others, but everyone blogs for different reasons. Not to mention different subjects, with a different audience. There's a lot of gray areas and misconceptions. 

Here are the biggest misconceptions about bloggers:

1. That we barely do any work. In some cases, this is true. (AKA celebrity bloggers who hire people to write and work for them)

But if somebody has their own blog they run by themselves, they are most likely putting work and effort into their blog daily. I know everyday I am writing, thinking of ideas, taking pictures, taking notes, etc. A day doesn't go by where I don't think about my blog in some shape or form. Everything becomes an artistic experience. It's not like we just put together a post in under 5 minutes and call it a day. Everything is carefully curated. It's much more than just the blog, too. It's email, social media, and constantly thinking about what's next.

2. That we are LOADED with money. Sure, celeb bloggers are. The top vloggers of youtube like Tyler Oakley and Zoella are. But this really depends. MOST bloggers / vloggers do different gigs and jobs, so all their income isn't coming just from one source. We obviously showcase the most interesting and best parts of our life, but the majority of us aren't rolling in gold. 

3. That we are barely getting by, living paycheck to paycheck. This is also not true. We either have another source of income, or we are making money from ads, product placement,  collaborations, writing on the side, etc. And some people don't make money from blogging at all, but that doesn't mean they are homeless. For all you know they could be a surgeon on the side!

4. That we lie about how we feel. I think this misconception comes from blogger trends. Honesty is important if you want an audience with longevity, but not every blogger follows this. "Oh my gosh I love florals! This recipe is DELISH. This brand is AMAZING. This album is 10/10." I try to keep my blog mostly positive, but you have to be honest about your experiences or you will just turn into a flogger. (fake blogger.) Nobody wants to hear about how much you love everything in the world all the time.

5. That we are freeloaders. The secret is out. Yes, bloggers / vloggers do get sent free products to try out and feature on their social media and blog. But the best internet personalities space out their product placement. You want to put out genuine content that actually matters instead of product review after product review. And, most importantly, you want to only feature products you ACTUALLY LIKE OR CARE ABOUT. I love trying out new products, but at the end of the day, I blog because I love writing, not for free skin cream.

6. That we have it easy. Like I stated before, bloggers showcase the most interesting parts of their life. Most bloggers have part time jobs, are a student, a mother, or something along those lines. On top of that, a blogger has a CRAZY schedule. I have to find time every week to wind down and get down to business. Our instagram pictures may show flowers, lattes and cute lacy dresses - but our lives are filled with stress. I read a Complex article last week stating that the average blogger works 100 hours a week. I don't doubt that at all. Imagine working that much on top of the life you already have? It ain't easy. 

Cable Lock


You First Recap + imPRESS Nails + Italian Sauce Recipe!

That's a mouthful, huh?

I recently was gifted You First by Lea Michele and was jumping up and down with excitement! Lea has always been one of my role models for years. As a performer to a PR girl, her career is on fleek.

You First is literally a journal. There's not much narrative or much writing at all in it - which made me confused as to why her face was attached to the cover.

Regardless, it's not a bad buy if you're looking to go through a stage of self-improvement. And...aren't we all?

Here are the sections:

YOU
Roots
Fitness
Diet and Nutrition

AMBITION
Goals
Role Models
Mind-expanding Challenges

RELATIONSHIPS
Friendship
Romantic Relationships
Colleagues

HAPPINESS
Hobbies
Charity and Giving Back
Gratitude

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Although I skimmed through and read all the questions, I'm currently at the YOU section, talking all about my roots and fitness. One of the activities was to write down a secret family recipe, so I thought, why not? My family comes from Italy - which means there's a lot of pasta recipes. Spoiler alert: IT'S DELICIOUS.

This is my grandpa's pasta sauce that he was really proud of. 


Ingredients:
3 cans of whole tomatoes (can them yourself if you can!)
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
chopped parsley
fresh basil
handful of parmesan cheese
3 teaspoons sugar
a whole lotta crushed red pepper







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Also, my nails are from imPRESS nails, you can check them out here! You can get it at places like Walgreens or Walmart. They're super easy to use with no glue, no drying time, and zero mess. Their ultra hold technology actually keeps the nails on for a long period of time - which is AWESOME. 


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xoxo,

Maria Elena

♡ THE ULTIMATE FEMINIST PLAYLIST ♡

The ultimate feminist playlist - yeah, you heard me. I tried thinking out of the box for this one. Songs from the past and present filled with female empowerment in all it's forms. Many people instantly think of Beyonce and Nicki Minaj when they think of songs that empower women, and while they are correct, the list doesn't end there. There are so many hidden gems in the feminist world of music. From being a badass bitch, to knowing your worth, all the way to being confident in who you are. These are different women who take different approaches to feminism, but regardless, they all make me feel pretty good.

Here are some of my favorites. Let me know what you think!



1. You Don't Own Me - Lesley Gore
2. Video - India.Arie
3. I Like Giants - Kimya Dawson
4. Hard Out Here - Lily Allen
5. Rap For Rejection - Kate Nash
6. Can't Pin Me Down - Marina and the Diamonds
7. I'm Out - Ciara ft Nicki Minaj
8. F.U.R.B. - Frankee
9. On The Regular - Shamir
10. BBD - Azealia Banks
11. Run The World (Girls) - Beyonce
12. Hero - Regina Spektor
13. Everybody But Me - Lykke Li
14. Unique - Lenka
15. Alphabet Boy - Melanie Martinez
16. We R Who We R - Kesha
17. You Don't Define Me - Mindy Gledhill
18. Girls Like Girls - Hayley Kiyoko
19. Shake It Out - Florence and the Machine
20. Confident - Demi Lovato
21. Sex Yeah - Marina and the Diamonds
22. Proud - Tegan and Sara
23. Do Your Own Thing - Raven Symone
24. Bravado - Lorde
25. Born For This - Paramore
26. Werkin' Girls - Angel Haze

Listen to the playlist below.

18 People That Don't Know I Love Them

Love is a strong word. But I use it a lot because I love a lot of people. I’m not in love with all of these people. I don’t feel an intense deep connection to all of these people. I don’t want to marry these people. But I do feel something towards these people, and it is love. Maybe not the love we hear about in fairytales or even the unconditional love we hear about in reality shows.

But it’s love, it’s appreciation, it’s connection, it’s empathy, it’s affection, it’s friendship.
And that’s a type of love.

I probably wouldn’t walk up to these people and tell them I love them. But I can write about it.



The boy that was raised plagued with drugs and alcohol from single digits and grew strong enough to break out of that. To this day, I never met someone that smells better than you. I don’t understand. But other than that, I want to hug you. You’re perfect.

The guy that lived his life for others, always smiling through it all. The king of every room he walked into - no one shined greater than him. I pray his versatile soul and bright aura will bring him purpose.

The woman that is the definition of ‘God knows I tried.’ Her life was hard on her and it shows. Yet when I talk to this woman, I can see the glimmer in her eyes. I want her to know that none of the misfortune in her life is her fault.

The old man that works at the Ben and Jerrys down the street. He is sweeter than any flavor of ice cream they serve there. I really hope he can retire soon.

The man that never truly lived up to his potential and regrets almost all of his choices. He finds himself in poetry and literature, but holds himself back in reality. Youth and passion will always be within you.

The girl who was always my friend but never my best friend. From cuddling to overeating, we were literally the cutest. If we matured together, we would never grow apart. But it didn’t work out like that, did it? I still think you’re one of the most awesome people placed on this Earth, just saying.

The guy that oddly symbolizes an entire era of my life. He symbolizes what could have been but what never will be. When I think of him, I think of a city. I think ‘what if.’ And I will always wonder. He probably doesn’t even know I care about him at all, though.

The woman who introduced me to an entire world of art but then ran away for her own good. You showed me how much potential I have and I showed you how much life you have in you. We both had to leave the world of art we created for ourselves. It’s better to burn out instead of fade away, right?

The woman that ne- okay. I’m just going to say the name of this person: Taylor Swift. I love you.

The boy who I grew up with that ended up betraying me. I can’t believe you would trash me after everything we’ve been through. But if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, I’m still here. Whether that be in our virtual world or our real world, I’ll be there.

The guy who was plagued with depression, bad hygiene and a lack of motivation. You were the butt of everyone’s jokes but I never cared because I knew how real you were. I’ll always feel that way about you. I still consider you my best friend.

To the craziest girl I know, I respect you more than most. You pushed me to limits I still can’t believe I crossed. But you opened up a part of me I probably would’ve kept shut. Is it weird I still remember your birthday every year?

The man who believed in me when I was vulnerable. I was told I wasn’t good enough, but you told me I was good enough and made me work on the things I needed improvement on. To this day, I remember everything you told me and it’s helped me grow as a performer.

The girl who is the epitome of fireflies, starry skies and lullabies. You are magical fairy princess and you deserve the world. That summer we spent together was beautiful, wasn’t it?

The woman whose body failed her but she did her best to find the silver lining in everything. Your situation is really unfortunate but I want you to know I will do anything I can to get you through it.

The guy who grew up to be like a brother to me. Who knew a nerdy freshmen would be able to make a badass senior laugh so hard? I know you’ll always be in my life because we’re basically related now, but I hope someday we can get back what we used to have.

To the girl who’s been in and out of my life for basically forever. You know who you are, and you know I got your back. We’ve seen each other at every stage of our lives and that’s not something everyone can say. Never let go of that effortless charm you have.

To the guy who taught me so much about discrimination based on race and gender without even trying. But on top of that, you made me laugh during the hardest time of my life. Like, literally, I remember having to hold in laughter because you made me laugh that much. That’s talent, man.

To each and every one of you:
Thank you. But don’t get too conceited. I love you...as a friend. Well, maybe. Leave me alone. I just have an immense amount of appreciation towards you. I’m an emotional person, okay? I love you. Bye.

Behind The Scenes - My Local Wolves Photoshoot

I'm so excited to finally announce this!

I will be featured in the November Girl Power issue of Local Wolves magazine.

I get to talk a little bit about what girl power means to me, my adventures in blogging, and a little bit about myself, of course.

It was a super fun experience shooting with Christel. I was literally blown away by the shots she got. It truly was an immersive, collaborative experience and she was so easy to work with. She gave me the motivation I needed to feel confident and secure in my poses. Check out her website here and her instagram here. Yeah...pretty amazing, right? 

My feature in the magazine also includes an interview where I get more personal than I usually do, so I am BEYONDDDDD stoked for you all to see what I have to say along with the professional photos.

Anyways, here are some behind the scenes shots of my Local Wolves shoot!








xoxo,

Maria Elena