• Speaking My Mind

    Time to Try

    For the first time in four years, I had an anxiety attack.

    It completely caught me off-guard, despite the fact that I had been nervously calling my girlfriend, my sister, and my mom on the phone for an hour before it had happened. Also despite the fact that I’ve been practicing some negative daily habits for weeks as a result of a Vata-imbalance.

    For me, that entails following my whims: I fall asleep whenever I want to (AKA never a reasonable hour), I sleep in late, I create ideas but I don’t bring them into reality, I stress-eat, I distract myself with interminable episodes New Girl (which is a great show), and I lack a routine for diet or otherwise.

    Anyway, right before the anxiety attack, I was driving during one of the phone calls with my girlfriend, and my answers to her questions quickly became hysterical to the point where I couldn’t breathe and I had to pull over. It was horrible.

    The last time this happened to me, I was preparing for midterms as a first semester, first-year student at a large University. I was also recuperating from an awful breakup, I was homesick, and I was just…learning how to flourish when everything was incredibly new and overwhelming.

    I was afraid of failing my classes, nervous that I wouldn’t be able to make friends, and worried that I wouldn’t be able to succeed in college.

    While my circumstances are completely different now– I’m a graduate of that University, I overcame homesickness, and I have an amazing relationship that is so much better than I could have imagined– I am now learning how to flourish as an adult. It’s incredibly new to me and it’s overwhelming.

    I published a post recently about my fears, but they’re rather surface-level. My more deep-seated fears include being afraid of making a “wrong” decision, nervous to embark on something “too risky,” and worried that I can’t succeed in the real world.

    All of these fears have ultimately culminated in the stunting of my growth. My fears have become my reality because I haven’t been challenging them…instead, I’ve been holding myself back to prevent myself from my perception of disaster. Then I’ve been blaming everyone else for holding me back.

    After my anxiety attack, my sister pointed out that I have a difficult time making a decision because I have all these “ideas” but I hardly execute them. She also informed me that I doubt and second-guess myself consistently. How can I expect to move forward if my energy is so self-destructive?

    Prior to the post about my fears, I wrote about manifesting and persistence. While they are extremely vital methods toward success, they are insufficient if the way I treat myself is negative. So, more importantly, how can I channel positive, confident, loving energy toward myself to raise my vibration and ultimately attract other high-vibe opportunities that would enable me to achieve my goals?

    Well, this anxiety attack was a wake-up call that I’m not okay with holding myself back any longer. Now is the time to break this cycle and challenge my fears. Now is the time to take risks that may not always be successful, but that’s part of learning! Now is the time to try.

    xx Vic

  • Yummy Recipes

    Sugar-free & Dairy-free Cinnamon Dark Hot Chocolate

    It only makes sense to offer a sugar and dairy-free beverage recipe after criticizing Starbucks for its lack of options. Ironically, I’m writing this while sitting in Starbucks drinking a black blond roast that unfortunately kept me up all last night. The solution to my exhaustion due to the four hours of broken sleep I got? Drink another black blond roast from Starbucks, of course.

    Anyway…this recipe is very simple and you can modify it as much as you want!

    Ingredients for one serving:

    • A mug of 3/4 water and 1/4 nondairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
    • A generous tablespoon of unsweetened baking cocoa powder
    • Dashes of cinnamon
    • Coconut whipped cream (I didn’t know this was a thing until recently, but it changed my life!!)

    Directions:

    Pour the mug of water/nondairy milk into a small pot. Set to medium heat and allow it to heat up.

    Once it’s hot, but before it starts to boil, take it off of the stove. Add the baking cocoa powder and as much cinnamon as you’d like. Stir.

    Then pour the hot cocoa into your mug and top with coconut whipped cream and more cinnamon.

    That’s it!

    You can use sweetened nondairy milk and/or natural sweeteners such as maple syrup or coconut sugar.

    If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    How to Order at Starbucks and Still Be Sugar/Dairy-Free

    Up until a few weeks ago, I was frequenting my local Starbucks daily to get out of the house while I job-hunt and study for the GREs. I didn’t stop visiting Starbucks because of the cost necessarily, although that probably should’ve played a more significant role…

    I stopped going to Starbucks primarily because of my sugar-free diet. Mid-PSL season, I realized that nondairy options are not sugar-free too. This is because all nondairy milk at Starbucks is unfortunately sweetened.

    Due to this realization, I thought that meant I could only consume black coffee, tea, or matcha lattes with hot water instead of almond milk. To my dismay, I now understand why people were disappointed with Starbucks’ matcha powder: the matcha is impure because it’s also sweetened!

    It’s appalling to realize that Starbucks doesn’t go beyond American consumers’ desires, which are unfortunately wedded to sugar and dairy galore. Why they don’t offer organic coffee, serve coffee in ceramic mugs to patrons that are staying in the establishment, and provide unsweetened nondairy milk already is beyond me.

    Until they do so, if you want to be sugar and dairy free and enjoy Starbucks, you can only enjoy black coffee or their variety of teas. Or you can bring your own unsweetened nondairy milk with you. Or better yet, you can stop going to Starbucks altogether and make your organic coffee with unsweetened nondairy milk in a ceramic mug at home. Then you can take your beverage to a local library and be productive there.

    Are you sugar/dairy free? What is your go-to beverage at Starbucks?

    xx Vic

     

    If you enjoy topics about diet and health, please check out my other posts!

    Plant-Based and Sugar-Free Living

    Why I’ve Broken Up with My Birth Control

  • Speaking My Mind

    If I Wasn’t Afraid, I Would…

    • Move out of state
    • Take a trip
    • Choose a grad school program
    • Apply to a grad school  program
    • Light a match
    • Drive on the highway
    • Chant more
    • Be confident
    • Be positive
    • Introduce more “yogic” things to my yoga class
    • Write a book
    • Develop my own business
    • Make malas
    • Reconnect with mentors
    • Pursue my passions, even if I’m uncertain where they will lead

    What does your list look like?

    xx Vic

  • Nevertheless, She Persisted 2019 Agenda
    Mysticism

    This Is Your Good Omen

    Since my campaign job ended at the beginning of this month, I’ve resumed looking for a full-time job. Although it hasn’t even been a month of this hustle, I’ve fallen into some negative thought-patterns again.  It’s actually affected my health this time.

    My thought-patterns were challenged the other day though when I was confronted with a small, yet powerful omen and reminder of the effectiveness of manifestation. I noticed the omen when I was partaking in the mundane task of waiting in line at TJ Maxx to return a bracelet. Before I divulge, let us rewind a bit…

    A few weeks prior I went to TJ Maxx to find gifts for the holidays and for my mom’s birthday. As I meandered through the aisles to survey the goods, I came across some cool planners.

    love planners. Well, not just any type of planner. I am loyal to my pocket-sized, leather-bound agenda with gold trim pages and a ribbon bookmark from Barnes and Noble. I carry this agenda with me at all times in case I need to write down an appointment or remember to do something.

    Since 2019 is quickly approaching and since I hadn’t yet repurchased the agenda I am so fond of, I scoped out the planners that TJ Maxx carried. I considered getting one of the planners that had cool graphics and stickers (my typical agenda isn’t as cute and affirmative), but I ultimately decided not to purchase one for several reasons. First of all, the planners TJ Maxx carried were all spiral-bound, which I loathe, plus it was larger and heavier than I prefer. I thought to myself that if it was $5 cheaper, I would buy it regardless just so I could have a planner for 2019. Now, let’s fast-forward to the other day…

    When I was in line to return a bracelet at TJ Maxx, I was thinking about the frustrating conversation that I had had with my girlfriend about the woes of job-hunting. I was feeling rather negative, especially because I had to wait in a long line to return one small item, but I decided to take advantage of my time by examining all the products that they have in the checkout line.

    Right before I was the next one at the register, I noticed a lone 2019 agenda that was stamped with “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” I actually have a t-shirt with that statement on it, but in that moment, it was exactly the reminder I needed. It was my good omen. Although job-hunting sucks and my efforts feel futile, I must persist. Eventually I’ll find what I need.

    I picked up the agenda curiously, dubious that I would actually like it since I’m so particular and loyal to the brand only available at Barnes and Noble. Well, shockingly, this specific agenda was identical to the interior of the agenda style that I am loyal too. The size of the agenda was a little bit bigger than the pocket-sized journal, but it wasn’t heavier and I could still carry it in any purse. This stray agenda was also not spiral-bound and it had a ribbon bookmark, just like my old one. As if it couldn’t get better, it was also $5 cheaper than the agenda that I had looked at a few weeks back, making it only $5.

    It all seemed too good to be true. I was at TJ Maxx, after all, so this agenda had to have a flaw. I inspected the agenda for damage, and it was in mint condition, ironically akin to the color of it. So, I bought it.

    You can regard this whole little experience in the line at TJ Maxx as just an odd coincidence or a small dose of good fortune, but I perceive it to be a small sign from the Universe that the Universe hasn’t forgotten about me. In fact, the Universe is unfolding as it should, and all I have to do is continue to persist. It’s not about worrying whether I’m persisting in the “right” direction…whatever I do is what I’m meant to do in the moment. Just keep going. Keep persisting.

    In addition to it being a good omen, I also believe I manifested this agenda. I’ve been putting it out into the Universe for a few months that I needed a new agenda. I had actually written in my old agenda, repeatedly since September, to get a new agenda for 2019. Despite my need, I kept postponing going to Barnes and Noble to the point where I doubted I was going to get an agenda in time for 2019. I had even requested my girlfriend get it for me. She didn’t get it for me though because she wasn’t supposed to, and I kept postponing going to Barnes and Noble because I wasn’t supposed to go. I was destined to find this agenda at TJ Maxx. It wasn’t the one that I wanted; it was actually better.

    If I can manifest a $5 agenda that contains a ton of significance, I can manifest the job that I need and want too. From what I’ve learned from The Alchemist so far, as well as from all the podcasts I listen to, manifesting is as simple as asking for it, being open to receiving it, and paying attention. I was very open that day, despite my frustration. In fact, I had been talking to my cousin in the car that same day about “signs” and about how not all negative setbacks indicate that you shouldn’t be pursuing your destiny. Sometimes they’re just roadblocks that you need to overcome.

    So…if you needed a sign that you are on the “right” track, or if you needed a reminder that your efforts are worthwhile, or if you needed to remember that all the power you need is within you, this is it. This is your good omen.

    Nevertheless, We Persisted.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Life Simulation

    So I’ve become addicted to a ridiculous phone game my sister introduced me to called BitLife. It’s like Sims, except you don’t see your character, or any characters, for that matter. There are no images in the game; it’s all driven by words that end up looking like an essay you wrote. The game progresses by taking actions in the form of buttons and by reacting to prompts the game throws at you, and the results of your actions are written down on the screen.

    It sounds kind of weird, right? It is different, but it’s also been thought-provoking for several reasons.

    I find it unique to the gaming world that you are unable to choose your character when you are “born.” Instead, your character is assigned to you. Your character includes your nationality, measure of attractiveness, intelligence, health, and happiness. You are also assigned parents with their own sets of these qualities as well as occupations, money, and generosity levels.

    Sometimes my character is not born with the “easiest” circumstances. One time, one parent died when my character was a child, and the other parent was working a menial job and thus couldn’t support my character through college. Another time my character wasn’t “smart enough” to attend a University right away, despite how much they studied.

    Then, with these inherent qualities, you make choices. You also have to react to opportunities that are presented to you, akin to reality.

    For the most part, I want my characters to lead a successful life, but I don’t always make the “right” choices. One character came across a suitcase full of cannabis, and I decided that my character would sell it. My character gained a couple of grand by doing that without any repercussions. Another time though, when I was trying to find a different character a better job, my character got fired for applying to other companies.

    The most successful character I had was surprisingly a professional pornstar and porn director. She had a graduate degree in computer science but pursued porn anyway. She had five kids, one of them from a hookup or a boyfriend, and the rest were from her husband of over twenty years. Her net worth was well over $62 million (the porn company paid quite well and she invested her money well). When her husband died, she remarried at 94. She had three grandkids when she died at 98 from old- age.

    My least successful character went to business school but was imprisoned for 34 years in total from drug trafficking. When she got out, she was only able to work as a roadkill remover due to her criminal record. She ended up being reimprisoned and dying in prison at the age of 82, and no one attended her funeral.

    Ultimately, this game has inspired me to look a little deeper at the choices that I’ve made thus far while considering the qualities and circumstances that I am born with and born into. Life is not perfect for me, but it is good, so what am I going to do about it? What decisions am I going to make to move forward and to grow? Life is a game just like BitLife, but it takes a little longer than an hour to reach the end.

    Do you play BitLife? Let me know your thoughts about it!

    xx Vic

  • Yummy Recipes

    Pumpkin-Apple Pie Oatmeal

    I’ve been greatly enjoying this little breakfast concoction a ton lately. It’s the perfect tasty recipe to satisfy you until you enjoy the large Thanksgiving feast later in the day. This meal evokes the scents and flavors of autumn, but it can be enjoyed year-round.

    IMG_2790.JPG

    Serving Size: 1

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats
    • 1 cup of water
    • 2+ generous spoonfuls of pumpkin puree
    • Turmeric
    • Ground cloves
    • Ground cinnamon
    • Ground nutmeg
    • One apple diced (save one half of diced apple for later)
    • Raw pumpkin seeds

    In a small pot, add old fashioned oats, water, and half of the diced apple**. Set to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Stir occasionally.

    Once oatmeal is simmering, add the desired amount of pumpkin puree. Stir. Then sprinkle in a generous amount (to taste) of the spices and stir them in.

    When the oatmeal has thickened, turn off the stove and serve with the other half of the diced apple and pumpkin seeds. You can also sprinkle more cinnamon on top.

    **Adding the apples with the oatmeal will soften them but still leave them a teeny bit crunchy. If you want softer apples, cook them with some water before adding the oatmeal.

    If you try this recipe, let me know how you enjoy it! Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

    xx Vic

  • Yoga

    Some Challenges of Being a New Yoga Instructor

    I’ve been teaching yoga for about two months now, isn’t that crazy?

    Anyway, teaching has been going really well. I work at an awesome community center at 5:45am on Fridays, which is very early, but it’s a wonderful way to start the day. The women I teach leave feeling empowered and I leave feeling energized. Serving as a yoga instructor is all that I thought it would be, and more. I’m so grateful to be able to teach, especially because yoga job opportunities seemed bleak when I graduated.

    While I love teaching yoga, I’ve come across a few challenges in the last two months that I want to explore. I’d like to find some solutions so if any of you have suggestions, please comment below!

    Some Challenges of Being a New Yoga Instructor

    1. Engaging with students

    I feel hypocritical to acknowledge this yet also self-aware, but I have somehow fallen into the trap of doing what I’ve criticized yoga teachers for doing, which you can read in this previous post.  To summarize, I don’t know my students’ names and lately, I haven’t been offering individualized modifications.

    I learned to teach yoga without using my own mat so I would do minimal demonstrations. Now, I bring my mat with me and I tend to find myself hovering on it rather than walking around and looking at my students’ bodies. Last week I left my mat at home to hinder me from demonstrating, but I still had a difficult time engaging with my students.

    Perhaps I feel dissuaded from offering individualized modifications since the last few times I did it, one student, in particular, was resistant to it and basically ignored me. This isn’t an excuse not to offer modifications to other students though. This week I aspire to look at bodies more closely so I can make recommendations.

    In regards to not knowing my students’ names…I just need to learn them. I excused myself for a while for not knowing their names because the class is so early in the morning and people aren’t particularly talkative or because nobody seemed to be a regular. Now, I finally have a group of regulars and there are only four peoples’ names I don’t know. I will learn them this week.

    2. Connecting to the local yoga community 

    I’m unsure how to resolve this other than getting a membership at a local studio. To be honest, I don’t want to do that because yoga memberships are expensive and I don’t know how much I’d use it since my schedule is so volatile these days. I have a membership at the community center I work at and I barely go as it is!

    I’d love to connect with the yoga community where I work but it’s difficult to do so because I teach so early in the AM so no other teachers or students are present. Most of the yoga classes at the community center are later in the morning, which so far has been when I’m working. They also don’t have classes later than 7pm and during my last job, I was still working at that time. Once I have a regular schedule I can probably figure out how to attend yoga classes at the center regularly. Until then, I think I have to rely on an online yoga community and the community I create with my students.

    3. Integrating spirituality into classes

    Since I’m not working at a yoga studio, there isn’t much spiritual integration in yoga classes I’ve attended at the community center. This is a little frustrating since I’ve become more interested in the spiritual nature of Yoga rather than the physical practice. Currently, I don’t even “Om” in class. I hope to integrate this by the end of the year and then teach classes that incorporate the chakras. More research is necessary to do this but I think it’d be awesome!

    4. Maintaining a strong personal practice

    As a result of limited community class availability, as well as dealing with my own hectic schedule, it has become difficult to maintain my own daily practice.

    Oh, an injury has discouraged me from maintaining a daily practice too. I somehow injured my right hip flexor about two weeks ago, which was extremely painful and debilitating for over a week. The pain woke me up in the middle of the night and I had to pick up my leg to get into the car…it was horrible. The pain is minimal now, but the muscle is still tender and healing, so I have to be extra cognizant of how I feel during my practice.

    I would be less upset by the sudden inconsistency of my practice if I at least meditated and/or journaled instead, but I find that if I don’t do the Asana, I rarely take the initiative to do the more spiritual work.

    A yoga community would help foster a regular and strong yoga practice, which is super important to have as a teacher. The classes I take from others, whether that be via YouTube, an app, or in the presence of a teacher, inspire the classes that I teach. Due to the weakening of my yoga practice, I have not been as inspired as I’d like to be. I’ve actually become a little jaded with the classes that I do teach because I struggle with switching classes up. Since I’m not working now, I need to carve out time weekly to take yoga classes from others. Whenever I do resume working, I will have to determine how to continue a strong practice.

    5. Continuing the study of Yoga

    I believe that continuing to study Yoga, and by that I mean the Eight Limbs of Yoga, excluding Asana, is the most important activity a yoga teacher should do. Yes, I can learn more about the other limbs by taking classes, but I think learning is done more effectively when you’re studying traditionally, ie reading lots of books.

    I have at least two Yoga books I want to finish reading, one of which is all about the chakras so that would be useful for the chakra series I want to teach. I have other Yogic books I want to read when I finish those two books too…it’s just a matter of carving out the time to read them.

    It’d also be helpful if I had a yoga mentor to sit and talk with too. One of the yoga teachers that ran the training is local to me so maybe I’ll reach out to her to talk about the Sutras or something.

     

    So…I suppose that even when you “graduate” from yoga teacher training, or from University, or from anything…there is always more learning to do. Being an expert in anything is a lot of work because the world is always changing thus there is always more to learn about the present in addition to the past.

    It’s helpful that I spent some time to write about the challenges I have as a teacher because this helps to hold myself accountable. Again, I’d love any suggestions anyone has to offer too!

    xx Vic

     

     

  • Red leaves on a large tree
    Short Stories

    To the Ones I Used to Know

    Most of you are alive, but to me, you only continue to exist on the page. Specifically, the pages of my blog.

    The structured black words on my blog have memorialized most of you, so if you ever forget about those times we stayed up too late, got in trouble, kissed, or argued, you can probably find those memories here. They did happen, I promise. I was there and I wrote about them.

    I’m not saying this because I’m trying to prove something to you. I don’t need to prove anything. Believe me or not, the evidence that we associated at all is here. It’s just a little unsettling sometimes.

    My writings are all I need to be flung back into the past when we sat next to each other at dinner, slept next to each other in bed, or were even in the same room together. Every time I read my old writings, it’s like watching a movie I hadn’t seen in years. I know how it ends, but I forgot the journey to the ending.

    But then again, that is why I maintain a blog: I write about the journey so I don’t forget.

    Most of you that I’ve journeyed with are gone from my life, yet your impact is undeniably relevant even to this day. Your impact lives in my words on the page.

    Thank you for sharing some of your time with me.

    xx Vic

  • beauty and fashion

    8 Fall Festive Outfits of the Day #OOTD

    Autumn is my favorite season, thus my wardrobe has been very autumn-esque since August! I always take poor quality photos of my outfits, but I haven’t shared any of them on my blog since 2014!! So today, before the holiday season takes over, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my favorites this season. One day I will take photos with better quality and with better lighting, but in the meantime, bear with me.

    Hocus Pocus Forever

    My girlfriend kindly surprised me with this Binx bag from Disney’s recent Hocus Pocus collection. I’m obsessed with this bag and I’ve been using it nonstop. It’s the perfect mix of eccentric and practical.

    The shirt is also from Disney’s Hocus Pocus collection! The front says: Don’t light the black flame candle, and the back is pictured below.

    My sister has glow-in-the-dark shirt Disney Halloween shirt. Disney had some awesome gear this year!

    Plaid Party!

    The outfit above features my pastel pumpkin-colored pants from Hollister! I purchased these about three years ago when my sister was working at Hollister and I was working at Abercrombie. I matched my pants with an orange stone necklace my late grandmother had given me. Peep my green Halloween socks with witches!

    The second plaid outfit above is newer. I purchased the pants from Target’s latest collection. They are comfy yet kind of stiff and loose…basically, the quality isn’t amazing but they will do for now. They look very cute though!

    My shirt is from Abercrombie from about a year ago. My bag is Binx obviously, but in this photo, you can see my witch hand sanitizer case more clearly! That hand sanitizer case was part of a set from Bath and Body Works, the other one being a vampire, which my sister has. They have magnets inside so they connect when they’re next to each other, it’s very cute. Also, I’m holding my Buffy comic book because Buffy is the best thing ever.

    Working Girl

    These next few outfits aren’t all super fall-esque, but they’re very cute!

    This was my first day of work outfit! It features old pants that need to be donated and my mom’s old shirt and sweater. The necklace is a jasper and turquoise necklace, which matches the details on my shirt.

    img_2577.jpg

    My mom got me the pants above recently for work! They’re from Kohl’s and they’re quite funky since they’re a black and white checkered pattern and ankle-length. They’re stretchy, comfy, and high-waisted, and I felt fabulous in this look! The shirt is also from Kohl’s but it’s about four years old now.

    Casual Working Girl

     

    The sweater above is my mom’s old sweater, and I really love it. The style is fun and perfect for fall. I wore it with my light grey jeans, which remind me of scarecrows because they’re frayed at the ankles, from TJ Maxx.

    This look is one of my favorites! I bought the earrings from the yoga studio I attended in the summer. They’re blue on the outside and orange in the center. I matched the earrings with the pendant that my step-grandma’s mom had, and this orange shirt my mom got me from the clearance section at Old Navy!

    The sweater is my mom’s and the pants are the same grey ones from TJ Maxx.

    Halloween!

    My Halloween look this year included my witch sweater from TJ Maxx and my Buffy cosplay coat from Hot Topic’s Buffy 20-year Anniversary collection last year! It has beautiful details that only Buffy fans would understand. I also wore Halloween bat earrings from Betsy Johnson, but I didn’t snap a pic of them.

    Those are all my fall-festive outfits! Did you like this series? Should I bring it back?

    Let me know in the comments below!

    xx Vic

%d bloggers like this: