May 11, 2015

choose your own story

What's your path?

I use writing as a way to understand mine. During my 27th year, I wrote publicly and privately about lessons, change, hustling, and the power of positive thinking. This year I dealt with many unknowns, and navigated through some challenging times. I was tested in all areas of my life, both professionally and personally.

I can describe it as standing over a gleaming pool of darkness. You can't see anything beneath the surface, and you're equal parts enchanted and terrified. While daydreaming, you lose ground or you're pushed, and suddenly YOU ARE IN.

Your toes are snarled with hairballs and seaweed fingers envelop your waist. Your eyes are smudged from crying, because why wouldn't you be wearing mascara on your spiritual journey through a lake of sludge? You'll choke, and flail, and try to stay afloat, and just when you're about to drown, you'll find a way to kick back and look up.

You'll see a cloudless sky and it'll feel like the first time someone told you what the colour blue was.

The dirt will dissolve in fizzy black bubbles; you'll be clean again.

That is how I felt when I turned 28 last month.

While I learned more last year than any other year of my twenties, I discovered there also comes a time to choose a new story.

Repeating tales of murky water keeps you swimming in the sludge, even though you're technically clean. It keeps your mind messy. You have to make an active choice to create a new narrative.

Below are some notes I've been scribbling in my notebooks about the year ahead:
  • Choose higher thoughts
  • Create a life you're proud of
  • Surround yourself with people who support you, not bring you down
  • Continue to write/use creative outlets 
  • Find ways to make others happy 
  • Treat yourself the same way you would treat your best friend 
  • Stay active 
  • Put down your phone
  • Never stop learning 

Although I don't know what this year holds, I'm eternally grateful for the chance to begin again.

As always, that is the most valuable gift anyone can receive.


Blogger's note: This year, I've also decided to change my social media channels from notamodelblog to my name. The blog will still be here (for now) but I feel that using my name is better suited to where I'm at right now. Hope you'll still follow along.

*Social channel changes
Twitter: @amandadipaq
Instagram: @amanda.dipasquale

April 13, 2015

Published: The Kit, Best Health, Fleek'd

Makeup by Victoria Radford 
Over the past few months, I've been working more on freelance writing.

Last week, I was published in The Toronto Star in their print edition of the beauty publication The Kit. The photo above was taken by makeup artist Victoria Radford's team, after she created my look. I was testing out the glossy eye trend as seen on the spring 2015 runways, and also in Rihanna's latest music video. I also interviewed Maybelline's Global Artist, Yadim. Lastly, I talked a bit too candidly about tears and breakups.

Here is the link to the online version, on page 6, titled "Lid Gloss"

Additional reads:

I also wrote an article about body scrubs for Best Health, and I'm a contributor to a new website called Fleek'd where I write about style, beauty, life, and wellness. My latest is about Taylor Swift's conversion to untouchable pop royalty. See links below. Enjoy!

Best Health - The benefits of body scrub

Fleek'd - Dear Tay, How'd You Do It?

April 8, 2015

what's your hustle?

Ever since Kate Lanphear became editor in chief of Maxim magazine, I've given the men's glossy a second look. I discovered the new version on a borrowed tablet. The paired down cover shots of Victoria Secret angels/models/superhumans Candice Swanepoel and Lily Aldridge looked, dare I say, real? There was not globs of makeup, nests of hair extensions, or contrived poses to be found. 

This issue's theme is: hustle. 

What is hustle? 

It's an interesting concept. To me, it's pushing past the fatigue of impending failure, exhaustion, or the moment right before you give up. It's moving forward when something doesn't work out; when you experience rejection; from the minuscule like someone not holding the door for you, or to the grand like losing your job. It's also keeping on task of goals, even when no one is cheering you on. 

Hustle is a constant churn. It's losing everything you worked hard for, and then popping back up like a piece of bread in a toaster.

Recently, I've had to deal with a few realities of failure and rejection. While difficult, I've learned that failure can be synonymous with hustle. For every letter that says no, there has to be one that says yes. But if you stop sending letters, how will you ever know?

Generally when I feel like I can't hustle anymore is when I get my answer. Either things fall into place, or I realize I need to take a different turn, or shut a door.

Either way, I know I have to keep moving.

Below is this week's mantra from novelist Philipp Meyer on the Meaning of Hustle, in his essay published in this month's Maxim. Enjoy!

"Hustle is staying ahead of your karma. Helping people who don't deserve it. Forgiving your enemies. Your only real fear should be that one day you will start to listen to what other people say about you. It's easy when most of it is bad. Harder when most of it is good. But still. You ignore it. It’s poison.

This has been said a million times, but you have to take the hardest path. You have to set the highest goal. Why? Because you will always fall short." 

/ image via Design Love Fest

March 11, 2015

Beauty - 3 Questions with A Makeup Artist

Meet Dallas! She's a professional photographer, and makeup artist with an inspiring website and blog. She's also the one who took these fun confetti photos of me last year. With a new season around the corner, I asked her for some tips for a spring makeup and beauty transition. Enjoy!

credit: Andria Lindquist
Winter leaves skin drab, what are some beauty tips for switching up a routine for spring?

Start by drinking as much water as possible. I use the Waterbalance app to remind myself to take breaks from working to grab a big glass of water and stay hydrated. The next thing I'd suggest would be finding some kind of exfoliating product that works for your skin. My two favourites are Lush Ocean Salt and Aveda's Exfoliant from their Botanical Kinetics line. The main point of both products is to help remove the buildup of dead skin cells and dry patches that winter seems to create. Follow this up with your favourite moisturizer immediately afterwards to avoid drying out your skin. My final tip would be to amp up the SPF of your sunscreen with the arrival of spring, since you'll be spending more time outdoors in the glorious sunshine.

What is your top pick for a seasonal blush swap?

During winter I favour cream blushes or cheek tints in rosy or wine shades. The cream formula tends to blend better with heavier, winter moisturizers I layer on. When spring arrives, I like to use classic pink or coral shades for a brighter, more cheerful look. I also switch to a powder format as soon as the weather gets warmer to help avoid shine. My all-time favourite springtime blush is NARS Gaiety.

What is your number one makeup tip to look awake?

Any kind of luminizing product that can be used to add dimension to your skin and highlight your features. Benefit makes several shades, such as High Beam, Moon Beam and Sun Beam. Choose the one that complements your skin tone and apply it to your cheekbones, cupid's bow and chin. I use either Benefit's line or I mix MAC Strobe Cream with my foundation to look upbeat and bright on even the earliest (or most hungover) of mornings.

March 10, 2015

Weekly Mantra - Let certain things go..

This week's mantra is about being brave enough to turn over the sheets. Wait, maybe even throwing them out the window. As our North American cities thaw, ain't no thang like spring cleaning one's life!

“That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don't expect to get anything back, don't expect recognition for your efforts, don't expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust."― Paulo Coelho via Goodreads

March 9, 2015

Life Changers: Boxing

I was nervous to attend my first boxing class.

I’d never punched anything before, except maybe a time sheet at a part-time job.

I'm anti-violence at all costs, so I didn't know how much I'd enjoy hitting a heavy bag. I was also a bit insecure about not knowing how to properly throw a punch.

When I arrived at class, I was relived to see the equal mix of men and women, and was glad that I wasn’t alone in my fight. I initially thought taking boxing classes would be good to add to my fitness routine. I'd read how top supermodels like Gigi Hadid, or Adriana Lima have been using it as their main form of fitness. What I didn't anticipate was the mental clarity I'd receive after every class.

Boxing causes you to confront what you’re hiding. 

It forces you to concentrate, and let out any form of stress, or even surprisingly, joy. I assumed that boxing would be something that is beneficial only I'm feeling angry, or aggressive, instead, I can hit the bag, and think of my goals and aspirations. I can release any anxiousness I have over things I can’t control. By hitting something that doesn't hit back, I am able to let go.

As long as the bag is there, I can fight.

When I box, I look my worst. My curly hair frizzes into a halo from the sweat, and I get splotches on my cheeks from the in-between cardio and weight training. But when I’m done, I leave feeling two inches taller, healthier and more like myself than during any other workout.

I become a bit more of the woman that I imagine myself to be. Someone who is fearless, and in-tune with her body and mind. After I take a shower, I’m more compassionate to my reflection.

I know that I did something good for myself, and it makes all the difference.

This post was sponsored by Clarisonic 

March 4, 2015

The List - Baby Models, Floral Prints & The New Potato

Apartment therapy - While studying in Florence last summer, I met Ashleigh from Perth, Australia while she was backpacking alone for six months around Europe. Since then, she's become an artist, creating the prettiest hand-drawn floral prints and quotes. Check out her Etsy shop for a spring art refresh.

Babies on the runways - Dolce & Gabbana featured model moms and their babies on the runway in Milan last week. Cue the awwwwws.

Men and Coffee - another Instagram guilty pleasure of my two favourite things combined.

Life Coach - Need a boost? My friend Jac recently launched her life coaching business. Need to set some goals, and get to where you want to be? Jac's your girl.

No sap songs -  I'm on a strict musical diet of overly confident, in your face, rap music. On repeat: Drake's If You're Reading This, You're Too Late, and Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise.

George Clooney's Op-ed - Clooney writes an opinion piece in The New York Times on how the world mustn't forget about places like Darfur, even though the international attention on a newsworthy crisis is gone

The New Potato - My favourite online food destination features interviews with famous foodies (actors, chefs, celebrities) about their favourite restaurants, and other routines.

March 2, 2015

The Month of March

Emily Dickinson's poem, Part Five: The Single Hound, starts like this:

MARCH is the month of expectation,
The things we do not know

While March can be a month of hope, there is a sense that it will always be this way.

The salted slush comfortable on the ground; cold wind that nips on ears like a puppy that will never be trained; a profound darkness that trails us home at 5 p.m. But soon, light will flood our evenings and stretch out like a baby waking from slumber. We will smile at strangers on city streets, and all that is rotting will bloom green.

Winter will fold its cards, because it no longer has the winning hand. I say goodbye to February; a month of shallow breathing and hibernation. I fling my arm back, wave my floppy hand, but I do not turn my head. No, I keep my eyes forward.

One step at a time, until I feel sunshine.