• Pumpkin Chai Smoothie with Pumpkin Seeds
    Yummy Recipes

    Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

    I have become quite the smoothie queen lately, especially when it comes to breakfast. I love breakfast, but my relationship with it has become a little strained since I quit eating my trusty Limited Edition Cheerio varieties (the banana nut flavor is by far the best).

    Over the summer I mostly ate toast with goat cheese and fruit, but after eating it nearly daily for two months, I needed to switch it up. That’s when YouTube saved the day!

    A former lesbian couple I follow on YouTube makes videos and books of raw vegan recipes. Through their videos, I went down the rabbit hole of raw vegan life and raw vegans seem to enjoy their smoothies quite a bit. So, I got some of the ingredients that they like to use in their smoothies, and now I start my day off with the comforting sound of the blender.

    Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

    Ingredients:

    • 1 large banana or two baby bananas
    • 2-3 generous tablespoons of pumpkin puree
    • 1/4 hemp protein powder (or one serving size of another protein powder)
    • 1 tbs of chia seeds
    • 1-2 tbs of flax seeds (serving size is 2tbs but I add one)
    • about thumb-size of fresh ginger, peeled
    • a bunch of ground cinnamon
    • a dash or two of ground nutmeg
    • some dashes of black pepper
    • some dashes of ground turmeric
    • pumpkin seeds to top
    • enough non-dairy milk/water/a combo of both to get the consistency you want

    All you have to do is throw it all (minus the pumpkin seeds) in the blender, pour into a glass, top with pumpkin seeds, and you’re good to go! You can mess around the quantity of each ingredient to suit your palate.

    If you make this, let me know your thoughts in the comments! What do you usually eat for breakfast?

    xx Vic

     

     

  • Poetry

    the moments that still haunt me

    aggressive/passionate kisses

    from thin/full, confident lips,

    while curious hands find the hem

    of my pleather/tennis skirt

     

    warm but forceful hands

    directing/coaxing my body,

    my hands,

    my head.

     

    pushing/guiding me onto the bed

    rolling in bed

    with sheets that aren’t mine/

    sheets that aren’t even his

     

    a body that doesn’t move

    at the same rhythm as mine.

    a body that doesn’t even tune into

    my frequency.

     

    sleeping on the edge of the bed,

    his body turned away/

    his body clinging onto mine,

    his erection pressing into me

     

    leaving before dawn

    and walking home alone, unseen/

    waking up in the afternoon

    in his embrace/beside him

     

    waking up in an unfamiliar room/

    in a room i’ve become too familiar with

    feeling loved/

    feeling empty.

     

    ©️ 2018 Vic Romero

  • Speaking My Mind

    August & September Favorites!

    It is time for another favorites post! Today I am sharing my top five favorite items from the last two months!

    1. Autumn-scented candle

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    This candle smells so delightful! It perfectly welcomes the autumn season and it has a great, festive color scheme too!

    2. Roasted Red Okra

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    I bought this at the farmer’s market because it looked unusual yet festive for the season.  I, unfortunately, forgot to take a photo of its beautiful hue before I put them in the oven, but you can get an idea of what it looks like by clicking here! Anyway, they tasted exactly like regular okra, they just looked extra cool with their red/green gradient, similar to how the leaves slowly begin to change from green to red as the days become brisker!

    I seasoned them with ground cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. Then I ate them with my hands! It’s a super delicious and easy recipe.

    3. I learned how to cut an avocado!

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    Yes, as a college graduate, I finally learned how to cut an avocado! In the past, I have squished avocados and I have gotten the meat all over my hands trying to get the pit out, but now I’m less of an amateur.

    The trick is to cut the avocado in half, all the way around. Then, before pulling the halves apart, Turn the avocado so the cuts you just made are on the sides, then cut the avocado in half again. This way, when you pull it apart, you have four quarters as pictured above! It makes serving the avocado easier as well as removing the pit.

    4. Sweet Loren’s Gluten-Free Fudgy Brownie Cookies

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    These cookies are insane! I’m a chocoholic and my preferred baked dessert is brownies, but not just any brownies. I need to have my Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Brownies with chocolate chips. They are seriously heaven! These cookies are real competition for the brownies.

    The cookies from Sweet Loren’s are relatively new and my sister bought them to try. We are a big fan of this brand because their cookies are organic, often gluten and dairy free, and the woman behind the business is a survivor of cancer. Our favorite cookie from this brand is the chocolate chunk ones, and this brownie cookie places a close second.

    These cookies are essentially brownie bites, especially when warm! They are rich, moist, and super chocolate-y. They are a healthier version of the Ghiradelli brownies, and I’m all for it!

    5. Toothpaste and Tongue Scraper

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    I picked this up when I was with my girlfriend in the Indian store we frequent. It came with a free, stainless steel tongue scraper, which was cool because I had been wanting to integrate that into my daily routine.

    Initially, I did not like this toothpaste because I found it to be foamier than the toothpaste I usually use (Arm & Hammer’s Advanced White Toothpaste), but I’ve grown to really enjoy this brand.

    It has a more…earthy flavor and it’s a brown color that foams white. A little goes a long way because it gets extra foamy. The tongue cleaner is super nice and I’ve been using it daily.

    Those are all my favorites for these last two months! Was there anything you tried recently that is currently your favorite thing? If you try any of my favorites, let me know what you think!

    xx Vic

  • Poetry

    autumnal rain

    water acts like glue
    to the wet leaves
    stuck to the ground
    stuck to the windshields
    after they’ve fallen from the trees
    amber, ruby, and gold
    all will rust to brown
    overtime
    with the harmony of the whistling wind
    rustling the naked branches
    shaking with the chill
    the rain pours on
    rolling downhill
    absorbed by the thirsty browning grass
    quenching
    droplets of the icy knives
    splash
    onto the sidewalk
    shading everything a darker color
    and washing away
    the summer
    preparing for winter

    © 2014-2018 Vic Romero

  • Speaking My Mind,  Yummy Recipes

    Drink Me: London Fog Tea

    My favorite season is now in full swing, as evident by the plethora of Halloween and autumn decorations in stores as well as on people’s lawns. Although I’ve been rocking Halloween/autumn-esque attire since August, I got a little extra in the spirit by using my Bath and Body Work’s Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte lotion and body spray. I smell like a sweet cinnamon pumpkin, and I love it!

    Another thing that I’ve been loving lately is the beverage I’ve been starting my mornings with: London Fog Tea!

    I have become obsessed with making myself London Fog Teas. I was inspired to make it when I was looking at the ingredients in different Starbucks beverages, and I saw that they offered this unique tea. I had heard of it before, probably from an English YouTuber, so I was intrigued to see what was in it. I was surprised to realize that I had all of the ingredients: Earl Grey tea, lavender, vanilla, milk, and sugar. Thus, I made it immediately and I’ve been making it daily since.

    Here’s how I make it:

    In a small pot, I boil water for a minute. Then I add a generous teaspoon of loose Earl Grey tea I got during my first trip to London, hence why the tea is inside a London bus container as pictured above. I add about a teaspoon of dried lavender that I got from a farmer’s market last November (you have to get dried lavender if you don’t have it!! It’s so delicious!). Then I add almond milk and let it boil for about 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Afterward, I turn off the stove and remove the pot from the hot burner to allow it to cool a little bit. Finally, I pour the delicious beverage through a tea strainer and into my beautiful Alice in Wonderland teacup mug! It’s very fitting for this English beverage.

    Since I am sensitive to sugar, I omit it. I also have not made it with vanilla yet, but I would add less than a teaspoon of that.

    Cheers to fancy teas! Let me know if you try it and what you think about it in the comments below!

    xx Vic

     

     

     

  • Speaking My Mind

    Flowing with The Current

    I’ve been listening to The Lively Show podcast a ton lately, and not just because I have too much time on my hands, but because I have learned so much from it.

    Jess Lively, the woman behind the show, is an entrepreneur and an intuitive coach. Essentially, she coaches people on how to become more in touch with their intuition.  Her podcast used to be a more Q+A style, but recently she switched things up in Season 5 by airing sessions she has with clients.

    I love listening to these sessions! It’s comparable to listening to someone’s therapy session, except focused on intuition rather than on psych. This podcast has caused me to reflect on my relationship with my intuition.

    In my previous blog post, I did an oracle card reading which concluded that I need to connect with who I really am, also known as my intuition. I have learned that my pessimistic attitude can be attributed to resisting my intuition. This is not uncommon at all, as I’ve been learning from the podcast.

    The two clients that Jess has interviewed thus far have been confronted with the challenge of acquiescing to one’s intuition, even if it’s scary because the results are unknown. The unknown is what makes life exciting and worth living, though. Thus, I’ve been working on transforming my perspective on life by living more intuitively.

    You might be wondering what that even means, which is a completely valid question.

    I believe living intuitively is different for everyone because everyone connects with their intuition differently. I think I connect with my intuition when I write, similarly to the two women in Jess’s sessions.

    Initially when I write, I’m actively thinking about what I want to say…but eventually my intuition takes over. My intuition is why I learn the most about myself when I’m writing because it is when I’m writing that I have epiphanies and moments of complete clarity.

    Since I want to strengthen my intuition, I’ve decided to write more frequently than I currently do, which is at least twice a week for my bog. In addition to my blog, I’d like to hand write in a journal. I tend to avoid writing in a journal because I find it to be more isolating than writing somewhere on the internet. Unless you give the journal to someone, only you will read what you write, which is fine but I enjoy building a community with others by sharing. On the other hand, journaling is also very valuable because it strengthens the community that one has with oneself.

    I’ve decided to journal either before or after meditating, which I’d like to make part of my morning routine if I choose to do yoga in the evening instead of in the morning. Once I begin my new job, I will manipulate my daily routine as necessary.

    By the way, I have a job! I begin on Monday and I’m quite excited about it. I was really nervous to take the opportunity because initially it wasn’t what I thought I wanted to do. However, with my more intuitive approach to life, I decided that I should take advantage of the job offer and see where it leads. I’ve also finally decided to stop vacillating between the decision to apply for grad school or not, and I’ve officially concluded that I will postpone applying for at least another year. My intuition has been guiding me to get to know myself without school…so I’m going to trust it.

    There are many examples of when my intuition proved itself trustworthy, but the most recent one has been with my experience as a new yoga instructor.

    I began teaching last week, and it was phenomenal! It’s a 5:45am class, which initially made me hesitate because it’s so early, but my girlfriend urged me go for it and I focused on my intuition rather than on my nervous mind. I’m grateful I did because despite whatever job I’m doing, I’ll be able to continue teaching this class since the class is before most jobs begin.

    I have been working for only a week, but so far it has had so many perks! I’m able to sub for other teachers (which I’ve already done), participate in other classes, and use the facilities. Plus, I got CPR certified and I’m part of a great community! I feel like I can try new things without fear of criticism, which is important to me too.

    Evidently, things are going pretty well right now. Flowing with the current of my intuition has allowed me to feel more aligned with my true self, which isn’t stressful at all. I thought it would be…because trusting yourself is scary, but when you go all in, it’s not.

    This is not to say that you will never experience seemingly undesirable things if you trust your intuition, because that’s not true. However, I do think that trusting yourself provides you with a peace that is unachievable when you only tune into your mind. My posts are a great example of that. I often begin my posts using my mind, but by the end, I’m more intuitive.

    Aside from writing, another cool way to hone your intuition is from an app that Jess shared on her podcast. The app is free and it’s called ESP Trained. Astronauts use it to strengthen their intuition and according to the app, they improve their skills significantly. I like playing some rounds with my eyes closed.

    Do you tune into your intuition? How so? Please comment below! Also let me know if you try out the app and tell me what you think!

    xx Vic

    PS: The photo I used for this post is from a few weeks ago when I was out to lunch with my sister. I’ve been to the area before, but I was inclined to snap a photo of the creek that time. Little did I know it’d make a perfect photo for this post!!

  • Mysticism

    Realigning with My True Self – An Oracle Card Reading

    September has been emotionally difficult because every day feels like a futile fight to stay positive and to cultivate a future. It seems like a futile fight because most days I wake up already in a bad mood, and on the few days when I actually wake up excited and I work toward my goals, I end up feeling defeated and depressed by the end of the night.

    I try not to casually throw around the word, “depressed,” because I don’t want to misuse it…but I feel like after weeks of crying daily, instigating tons unnecessary fights with my mom and with my girlfriend, emotionally beating myself up, reducing myself to nothing, and wishing I could escape from reality warrants the use of the term, “depressed.”

    I have only wished I could disappear when I am struggling to cope with change, struggling to stay afloat, and struggling to thrive. Right now I’m struggling with all three, so it’s overwhelming.

    I’m not sharing this to worry anyone…I don’t want to hurt myself, I just don’t always want to deal with my life. Not because my life is bad or anything, because my life isn’t bad at all. I have food, a home, a caring family, health insurance, and I’m finally working part-time. My life is good and comfortable, which I’m grateful for and I try to remind myself of this all of the time.

    Despite acknowledging my blessings, I get caught up in my stagnancy. When I focus my energy on taking steps toward my goals so I can move forward, I doubt myself and I doubt my ability to move forward at all. It’s a toxic cycle that unfortunately has poisoned my emotional well-being as well as my relationships. I don’t want to be around anyone because I feel like poison. Isolation exacerbates my depression too.

    So…I pulled my Ganesha cards on Monday to get some insight and guidance that I can reflect upon. I’m not going to share a picture of my cards this time because most of them I have already shared on my blog.

    My Reading

    1. The first card, which represents where I am now, I pulled Positive Outlook. I was bewildered when I saw this card because as noted previously, I wouldn’t consider myself having a positive outlook at the moment. Well, the card is about how all circumstances are neutral, and it is one’s mental attitude that influences how it is perceived. It reminds me of what I have read in The Untethered Soul as well as something I had painted on a flowerpot after my grief group concluded two years ago: Your perception is your reality. I suppose I need to take a step back from judging my experiences as negative and to at least view things as neutral.
    2. Sustenance is the card that represents my next steps. The painting on the card is of Ganesha enjoying a buffet, but the card isn’t about food. It’s about how I need to acknowledge my blessings as well as acknowledge the abundance of ways to support my desires. I need to understand my needs and satiate them, even if it’s scary or unconventional.
    3. My obstacle is Cultivation, which is strongly linked to music. Music creates communities and it soothes the soul, causing music to be a method for connecting to spirits. I haven’t been listening to music too much…I either listen to podcasts or watch something on Netflix. When I’m not listening to these things, I spend my time in silence…but I suppose it’s a little too isolating right now. Perhaps replacing the silence with my yoga playlists would facilitate some more positive thinking, creativity, and a sense of belonging.
    4. My resource for overcoming my inability to cultivate is Reflection. When I saw this card, I was like “duh, I’m great at reflecting! I reflect and write weekly!” When I read the description of this card though, I was speechless. I’ll just share what it all says.

    “You have reached the point in your life’s journey where self-judgment and criticism no longer serve you. It is imperative that you understand and appreciate the distinctive persona that you bring into all situations. Each of us has our own unique path….Through reflection and visualization, get in touch with the wise person within you.” – Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards by Angela Hartfield

    While this card is titled “Reflection,” I feel like it is about more than that…and it really resonated with me.

    5. My new outcome is “Acceptance,” which I’ve pulled multiple times because I’m always fighting with my true self. This relates back to alignment as well. Life will become easier when I accept my true self and when I accept that I don’t have to know everything. The reality that I don’t know anything about my future has been weighing on me because it’s an uncomfortable feeling. I haven’t been enjoying living in the unknown and not having all of the answers right now. My life will improve though when I look at my experiences and the world from a more spiritual perspective as well as by not placing so much value on my thoughts.

    All of these cards address connecting with who I really am…thus, that may be the key to transforming my perspective and my life. It will take some time and patience to realign with my true self via these suggestions from my Ganesha cards. My meditation practice, although not daily (yet), will help me get there too.

    Also…while I feel like I have been stagnant, that isn’t necessarily true. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am now working a part-time job. I am also almost done with the hiring process to teach a regular yoga class in my town. I doubted I was going to be able to teach yoga this year and if I hadn’t nailed the audition, I was going to postpone my teaching dreams…but the universe surprised me. Lastly, after avoiding and debating with myself for several months, I finally booked a GRE test date!

    So…things are moving. I’m progressing, contrary to what I believe.

    If you would like an oracle card reading, please comment below or email me at hello@unziptheselips.com.

    xx Vic

  • Yoga

    Swings and Meditation

    Hello, everyone!

    I made another video, and this time I edited it! This is the first time I have edited a video in about eight years and I think it came out pretty good. I’ve really been enjoying playing with visual media a bit, and I’d like to continue to practice with it so I can improve.

    I hope you enjoy the video and comment your thoughts below!

    xx Vic

  • beauty and fashion,  Speaking My Mind

    My Bath and Body Works Collection (Plus What I’m Wearing this Autumn)

    The weather around here has gone from humid heat to cool and gloomy, like the weather in The Goonies. It’s the perfect autumn weather, despite it being a little bit early. I’m okay with autumn arriving early though because it’s my favorite season!

    My birthday is in the fall and so is my favorite holiday: Halloween! I decorated my room for Halloween in August and I’ve been wearing an autumn color palette for several weeks as well. I’m excited to be home this year for the season because I get to actually see the leaves change colors too.

    Another great thing about autumn is that Bath and Body Works releases an autumn/Halloween beauty line! This season is my favorite time to shop at B&BW, but I shop there every season with my sister and my mom. We always get the seasonal soaps, lotions, body sprays, and oil diffusers. It’s a fun seasonal tradition because the aromas really get you into the spirit of whatever season it is.

    Since I go every season, I don’t always finish the products I buy. Sometimes I don’t finish them because the scent I got was limited edition (most of their stuff these days seem to be) and I’m reluctant to finish them. Thus, I thought it’d be fun to share my collection of Bath and Body Works items I have accumulated over the last two years or so, in addition to the latest scents that I will be wearing this season!

    Not all of the scents are available in stores anymore, but I found some shops on Amazon that sell them. They may or may not be reasonably priced though.

    If you only want to see this year’s autumn scents, please scroll down to the bottom 🙂

    Nearly Empty Lotions:

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    Aquamarine came out this past spring I believe and they don’t sell it anymore. I got it in conjunction with a sparkly body spray of the same scent. The scent is described as a blend of ocean water, mint, and wet stone. It’s super refreshing and feminine in a unique way. It’s definitely one of my favorites even though it doesn’t fall under my preferable aromas which are vanilla, marshmallow, and almond.

    Sandalwood Rose came out either two or three winter holidays ago. It emerged around the beginning of their aromatherapy line, and I’m devasted that they discontinued it because sandalwood rose is my favorite aroma next to vanilla, marshmallow, and almond. I even remember the first time I smelled this combination: I was in elementary school and taking yoga at the recreation center in my town. The instructor had given me the remains of a sandalwood rose oil and I held onto it for as many years as I could until I eventually had to throw it away.

    This combination is so good because it has a “warm” smell that I tend to gravitate towards, but it’s also feminine without being fruity. It’s fantastic, I highly recommend it.

    Happiness is part of Bath and Body Works current aromatherapy line, and this product definitely incites joy. This lotion is a combination of bergamot and mandarin essential oils, so it’s very bright and almost spicy. I use it all over my body on days when I’m feeling a little solemn.

    Nearly Empty/Partially Used Body Sprays:

    I have a lot of body sprays in this picture, I know. I tend to use body lotion very quickly, but the body sprays don’t go as fast, so I end up with a ton leftover. I should probably refrain from buying more body sprays for awhile…anyway, let’s commence!

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    From left to right…

    Wild Madagascar Vanilla (far left) is basically the more sophisticated, older sister to Warm Vanilla Sugar (far right). The former is vanilla with African pear, wild jasmine, and white sandalwood. This scent was available about three years ago now, but they discontinued it, unfortunately. They still offer Warm Vanilla Sugar, which is part of their signature collection, but I’m honestly waiting for them to get rid of their signature collection. As a long-time shopper of Bath and Body Works, it seems like they are moving more toward expanding their aromatherapy line.

    I purchased Island White Sand this summer, and while it’s a lovely smell with undertones of sparkling tangelo (what is that??), sand, white orchids, driftwood, and coconut water, it just isn’t me. I don’t know what possessed me to buy this scent honestly. It isn’t a “warm” scent and it also isn’t particularly feminine in my opinion, so I barely used it. Pretty much the whole bottle is left. I used the lotion I had paired with it at least, but I may have to find someone who would want this.

    Japanese Cherry Blossom is an iconic scent seeing as its part of the signature collection. It makes an excellent perfume because it’s strong and lasts for several hours. (Or maybe this one is so strong because I’ve had it for at least 4 years??) If you like feminine, floral scents, I recommend it. I feel romantic when I wear it and I have it both in the sparkly spray, pictured here, as well as in a non-sparkly spray.

    Almond and Vanilla is the evilest aroma Bath and Body Works has created because not only does it smell fantastic because it’s my two favorite scents ever, combined, but they also discontinued it in their stores. Thankfully I bought a lotion in this scent before they completely got rid of it.

    Beach Nights Summer Marshmallow is more my jam in regards to summery scents because it smells cozy and delicious! It’s a blend of toasted marshmallows, salt breezes, and S’mores. This spray is from two summers ago and whenever I use it I can’t help but reminisce about that time in my life.

    I already talked about the Aquamarine scent, so I’ll skip over it and talk about the Spiced Pumpkin Cider one! It’s a blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, and apple cider, and it’s the ultimate fall aroma! This is from last autumn but they brought it back this year too.

    Cashmere Snowflakes is a scent my sister and mom got me into, and it’s the perfect post-holidays, dead-of-winter aroma because it adds some brightness and warmth to your life! I’ve barely used it, so I’m hoping to get more use of it this winter. They offered it during the last two winters, so they will possibly offer it this winter as well.

    Bright Autumn Blooms is probably the most floral fragrance I own, but it’s not too much for me. I honestly don’t what flower this is supposed to replicate and there’s no description of it, but it’s quite refreshing. It was part of their autumn collection last fall but it’s no longer available in stores.

    Favorite Summer Scent This Season:

    I got this travel-sized fragrance for my Disney trip at the beginning of the summer because I was not checking my suitcase. I wish I had gotten a larger size though with a larger lotion (I had a travel-sized lotion but I finished it) because this scent is just…sexy. It’s not a “warm” scent, but it’s super perfume-y in the fact that it’s strong and it smells super good. I hope they offer this one next summer too.

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    What I’m Wearing This Autumn:

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    The three items from the left are from the new collection. I’m really excited about the Rose lotion because while it’s not Sandalwood Rose, it’s sufficient enough. It has a lovely floral scent without being too overpowering.

    Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte was available either two autumns ago, so I suppose it’s a staple seasonal item. I used it two years ago and then opted to use Spiced Pumpkin Cider last fall. I love the Marshmallow scent more though because it has the warm undertones that I adore.

    The Almond and Vanilla is no longer sold in stores but it’s a great autumn scent for when I run out of the MPL lotion, which will definitely happen too soon.

    That’s pretty much it for my collection!

    Do you love to shop at Bath and Body Works? What are some of your favorite products?

    What scents for lotion/body spray do you use in the fall?

    xx Vic

  • Yoga

    Kundalini Meditation

    Today I tried something a little different by making a video to update you all on my meditation experience! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed a video format or if you prefer blog posts.

    Here are some of the links I promised to include in the video:

    My previous meditation post

    My vulnerable blog post

    The Journey Junkie’s Kundalini meditation tutorial

    Do you meditate? What style do you do?

    xx Vic

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