• Yummy Recipes

    Trying New Breakfast Recipes: Golden Milk Smoothie

    My typical breakfast consists of a delicious bowl of Cheerios swimming in milk. I’ve since upgraded to various Cheerio flavors such as the Limited Edition Banana Nut Cheerios (RIP, I hope they revive it!!) and Peach Cheerios. I’ve also upgraded from skim milk to non-dairy options like rice or almond milk because I’ve learned that dairy contributes to many of my acne issues, among other things.

    Anyway…since I’ve moved back to my parents’ house, I haven’t had to cook or prepare meals for myself as much as I was doing in school. The only meal I have to prepare nowadays is breakfast, if I even wake up early enough for it. Well, I’ve finished the cereal at home and I haven’t bought more yet so on Monday I decided to check out my latest favorite recipe website, The Minimalist Baker! I made their golden milk smoothie and I wanted to share how I modified it and the results!

    First though, I just want to say that this is inspired from Golden Milk Tea, also known as “Haldi Doodh” in Hindi which translates to “turmeric milk.” I’ve made turmeric milk before because it is supposed to help with menstrual pain, which I’ve been having quite a bit of since quitting the pill in April. It is quite effective in my experience so if you want to try it yourself, the recipe is very similar, minus a few ingredients that the smoothie calls for.

    The smoothie calls for a frozen banana, coconut/almond milk, ground turmeric, fresh ginger, ground cinnamon, black pepper, and ground nutmeg. It’s optional to add ground clove and cardamom and fresh carrot juice, but I didn’t have any of those. You can also top the smoothie off with hemp seeds, but I didn’t have those either.

    This is what I did have! (Not pictured is the almond milk)

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    I used one banana, although it wasn’t frozen so I added three ice cubes to the blender. Then I eye-balled the rest of the ingredients based on how much I like them. For example, I added about one dash of nutmeg because nutmeg is very strong so I don’t want it to overpower the drink. Conversely, I added three dashes of cinnamon because I love cinnamon. I was also a bit generous with the fresh ginger and black pepper because I love those ingredients!

    The recipe didn’t call for chia seeds but that’s what I had so I blended it in too!

    I made the smoothie again on Tuesday but this time I added fresh mango because I have a lot of it left to eat and I was hoping it would make the smoothie more golden. I feel like I ended up with a grey-ish, green smoothie though…

    It was delicious regardless though! I enjoy this recipe because it can be as sweet or as spicy as you want it, plus it’s a great way to start the day…probably better than Cheerios.

    Please let me know if you try the smoothie or the tea and what you think!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Nightdwelling: Job-Hunting

    It’s been quite awhile since I lied in bed, unable to quiet my mind, and just write. I find it unusual that I’m not alone in my bed as I’m writing, unlike years past. Tonight my girlfriend is sleeping beside me, blissfully unaware of my mental torment.

    I’m not feeling quite as angsty as Victoria at 16 when she stayed up until 3am just writing, but I’m angstier than usual. Perhaps it’s due to the new moon or the hormonal week I had last week, or perhaps it’s because of my deceased cousin’s birthday, which just passed. I’m also not feeling great due to the sudden onslaught of allergies that now keeps me up at night because I can’t breathe too well.

    (Super cute side-note, I coughed, which surprisingly woke up my girlfriend, who then sat up right, asked me if I was okay, kissed my cheek and then rested her head on my chest and fell back asleep. So…she may not be as blissfully unaware as I had assumed).

    Anyway…I just want to check in and chat. Release some of my angsty feelings!

    I’ve been quite concerned about money lately. I’ve been spending more of it than I care to admit, while not making nearly enough to support my lavish lifestyle. Right now, I’m at least working a little bit, but in two weeks or so, I will not have a job anymore. Obviously, a solution to my anxiety is to get a job so I can make money and actually live within my means, but the truth of the matter is that I’ve been…avoiding looking for a job.

    I’ve been doing the work to develop a good mindset and to understand the “game” that is job hunting. My aunt got me a book called What Color is Your Parachute?, which is a great book for job hunters. It’s been more insightful than all of my career preparation, which is pretty extensive, although still insufficient. I’ve also revamped my resume and I’ve been working on my confidence and my mental well-being. Now, I just have to apply all the work I’ve been doing by taking action and actually job-hunt.

    One of my old study buddies emphasized my need to take action. We met up last week to catch up for the first time all semester. We used to struggle together for our classes, but she didn’t seem to be struggling anymore because she had it all figured out since she got a job recently. I felt pretty lame in comparison with my elusive plans and my carefree attitude, to which she responded that I should look for a job because it won’t fall into my lap.

    I’m not going to delve into the frustration, self-pity, and self-doubt I experienced due to this interaction, but she did have a point. I need to start looking for a job. That in itself is like a full-time job though, which I find to be unpleasant, although necessary.

    I want to get a job so I can be independent, have somewhere to be every day, and to gain some work experience that may inspire my decision about doctorate programs. I have to remember this when I resume looking rather than focusing on my fears and hesitations about the job hunt. I have goals, thus I need to take action.

    Do y’all ever struggle with the job-hunt? What do you do to motivate yourself?

    xx Vic

    I wrote this back when I was still in school, and the job-struggle is stronger now that I’ve graduated. My parents and girlfriend have been helping me as much as they can, which has been wonderful. Hopefully I get some interviews soon.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Faith + Bravery: Taking the First Steps on a New Adventure

    My aunt took me and my sister out to lunch, and as per usual, we had a wonderful conversation.

    She had recently returned from a trip to Memphis with her husband, and they went to several Civil Rights museums. I confessed to her that the things I must do in order to get to the next chapter of my life seem impossible, so she told me this quote she saw in the museum that blew her away:

    “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

    ― Martin Luther King Jr.Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices on Resistance, Reform, and Renewal an African American Anthology

    When she shared it with me, I was also floored. This quote is obviously in regards to civil rights, however, it also encapsulates exactly what I need to do that would answer my own questions:

    How do I get a car so I can be independent? How do I get a job but also prepare for the GRE’s and figure out what doctorate program I want to do? How do I make new friends since all of my closest friends are moving away? How do I become a self-sufficient adult even though I’m afraid to do so?

    Between these worries and fears as well as my disastrous room, which seems to reflect my inner turmoil, I have been feeling so overwhelmed that I haven’t done much to move forward at all. Naturally, I’m not going to get to the next chapter if I’m not taking any steps at all…thus, I should trust the Universe more. I should also trust myself more.

    Evidence of the Universe conspiring to support each individual is evident in my own life in the past, as well as in my girlfriend’s life currently. Per Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life” :

    “You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

    I’ve sited this quote what feels like 10 times now on my blog, yet I always need to be reminded of it. Perhaps I should make it one of my mantras in addition to the Sanskrit mantra, Ananta Swa Bhava, I repeat for my japamala meditation. It means my state of being is infinite and boundless.

    I am infinite and I am a child of the Universe too so…I need to have a little more faith.

    So the first steps I will take until my yoga training starts in a little over two weeks will be to apply for at least one job a day and to finish organizing my room. Instead of watching endless YouTube videos at night, I will read material that will inspire me especially because I have an obscene amount of partially read books on my Kindle. I will also allot one hour each day toward researching doctorate programs that I may be interested in.

    By the time my yoga program rolls around, hopefully, my personal space will be less cluttered and more organized and I will at least have some ideas percolating in my mind in regards to future education plans. Then I can write them down in the new journal my aunt got for me! It’s a beautiful journal and I’ve never had such a nice one before!

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    I hope you can see the gold detail on it in this photo above!

    IMG_3439 It also has beautiful quotes throughout the book too!

    Anyway…that’s all from me for now. Let me know in the comments if you have any quotes that inspire you!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Post-Graduation Blues (Fake Happy)

    It’s ironic how happy I look in this photo considering that graduation has not been an entirely happy time. Granted, I took this photo a day or two before the graduation ceremonies and the drama occurred.

    During the first of the three commencements I attended, I was just trying not to cry the entire time. The second two ceremonies were less emotionally intense, despite the pouring rain, but afterward, my sister went to the ER during dinner due to a potential concussion (which thankfully, she didn’t have). This caused my mom to stress out excessively. Then I moved home, which was exhausting although my grandparents helped out tremendously. The next day, I went to a family dinner with my parents and my sister, which ended in tears on my part and my mom stormed out of the restaurant. She ignored me and my sister until the following evening. Lastly, my girlfriend got an internship, which is incredibly exciting but I’ve cried a ton because of it. The last part of these dramatic days is what I really want to talk about now because the other stuff has been resolved.

    I am afraid of being alone this summer, which seems like it’s going to happen anyway. This has caused me to spiral into sadness when the people around me are successful. Pretty much all my friends have jobs and/or are moving out of state/out of the country. No one is going to be local to me except for my sister, but even she has a job. I mean, yeah, I have a part-time job until mid-August that allows me to work remotely, which would allow me the time and flexibility to

    1. Research PhD programs
    2. Apply for jobs
    3. Study for the GREs
    4. Organize my life both physically (my room is a mess) and mentally (I’m a mess)
    5. Do my month-long, intensive yoga teacher training

    So yeah…I need to be alone to do most of these, if not all, of these activities. Therefore, I will have plenty of time to accomplish these goals because I have a part-time job during these critical summer months. On the other hand, though, I wanted to do fun activities and trips and because not even my girlfriend will be local to me now…I feel like I can’t do them unless I want to go on my own.

    My girlfriend said she is going to see me weekly, and I believe her but when she’s not seeing me, she’s going to be working and having fun where she’s at. Everyone is going to be having fun where they’re at. Meanwhile, I feel worried that I’m just going to be at my parents’ home, alone studying or something…which isn’t bad…I have different goals than her and everyone else for this summer but…I don’t know what my problem is. I’m jealous of everyone else, I’m comparing everyone else to myself, and so I feel bad about myself for no reason.

    She said I need to change my perspective, which I agree. I definitely need to do that.

    Maybe the interests and goals I have for my life will cause me to feel a little isolated from everyone, even if my friends and girlfriend were around. If I am going to be doing a PhD program, these feelings will probably continue because I’ll be spending a lot of time studying and working on the weekends, whereas my friends who get jobs with their Bachelor’s may be able to go to brunch on Sundays and mingle more.

    Regardless, this gap year or two or three that I am taking sucks. I feel stagnant and alone in that. I want to find a job but I haven’t been looking even though my girlfriend and mom send me job listings once in a while…I want to figure out a PhD program I’m interested in but I haven’t been looking at that either, although I’ve talked to my thesis advisors about it. My girlfriend said I’m avoiding things and so…yeah, I am. I’m unsure why though.

    I know in the past, avoidance is a method I practice when I’m either depressed or anxious. Perhaps I’m feeling a little bit of both right now. Possibly due to my graduation blues.

    Do people talk about how awful graduation is? Aside from the overwhelming emotions that arise during the ceremonies, afterward is so much worse. Suddenly, you go from having tons of friends within walking-distance to having no friends nearby. All your friends become busy with their adult lives and you’re stuck living at home with your parents, who ask you daily about getting a job (if you don’t already have one, like me). The possibility of getting a job, being able to move out, and make friends/have friends feels impossible. Not only does that feel impossible, but so does working toward a doctorate because there are 100,000 steps I have to take before even applying for a program.

    Maybe I’m a little depressed and anxious and I didn’t realize the depth of it until now. Regardless, it’s manageable and I’ll overcome it. Right now, I’m unsure how and I’m unsure when this will happen. I may end up having to take two years off, which is okay although undesirable. But worrying about how long things will take is not what I need to be doing right now. So first thing’s first…

    1. Focus on myself!!! I have a part time job for a couple of more months and I’ll be busy doing the YTT. In the evenings, I’ll need to study for it in addition to doing the work required for the other goals I have listed below.
    2. My path is not anyone’s path. I will find a job if I actually look for one and apply. I will figure out what doctorate program to do if I actually look at them. I will be prepared for the GREs if I actually open the book and study for them.
    3. I will do fun things this summer with my girlfriend and my sister. Maybe I can challenge myself a bit too by doing fun things by myself. I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I must be there for myself and not allow people’s inability to hang out with me deter me from having a good time.
    4. Be at peace with myself.

    I may need to repeat these things like a mantra until I relax. I was able to do this two summers ago. During that summer, I was lonesome but at peace with it. I didn’t write much during that time so I don’t remember what I was doing exactly…I was taking a summer class and working part-time but that was it. I probably read a lot and watched TV. I don’t know how I achieved that state of mind but I will figure out how to get back there.

    Anyway, tomorrow I’m leaving for Disney so I’ll try my best to enjoy myself and maybe I’ll plan a little bit about how I’m going to manage my days when I return so that I am busy daily. I’ll let y’all know how that goes.

    xx Vic

  • Poetry

    The Dangers of Looking Backward While Walking Forward

    It’s easy to miss what lies ahead

    If you’re always looking behind you instead

    Yeah, you may be walking forward but by looking backward you’ll never know

    All of the potential you have and how you can grow

    It’s important to take risks once in a while

    Even if you fail miserably, taking those risks are still worthwhile

    Because you’re getting closer to your destination

    And by standing back up, you’re building a strong reputation

    Besides, not looking where you’re going is unsafe

    You may trip and fall into your own grave

    © 2014, 2018 Vic Romero

    All Rights Reserved.

    Happy graduation day! 

  • Speaking My Mind

    Savoring the Moment

    My thesis advisor emphasized that I should savor these moments because they end quickly. Right now, my graduation days seem weeks away but it’s only a matter of days before I walk. Once it’s over, I can’t get it back. So that’s what I’ve been doing these last couple of weeks and that’s what I’ll do until my last commencement.

    I’m experiencing all of the feelings lately. I’m simultaneously nostalgic, suffering from senioritis (although I think I’m done with exams unless I have to retake one…), nervous, excited, eager, worried, and sad about the impending end of my undergraduate career. On Mother’s Day, this Sunday, I will officially be done. I have some immediate plans for “what’s next?” but I still have to figure things out for after July. Hopefully, my yoga teaching program along with doing my own research for ideas will be helpful.

    It’s surreal how four years have come and gone and I’m leaving with my Bachelor’s. It’s also surprising and impressive how much I’ve accomplished in those four years…I have three cords to wear at graduation and I wasn’t expecting to wear any. It’s amazing to reflect and see the growth that I’ve had as well as the impact I’ve made at my University and in my own life.

    I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to go to college and I’m grateful to myself for making my four years productive. Four years ago, I went through a horrible breakup but in hindsight, that breakup further propelled me to get involved on campus to help me cope…which allowed me to be open toward meeting new people and making friends. There are tons of different instances throughout my four years at college where the ending of something became a new door to go through and explore what was beyond it. I know graduation is just me going through a new door but it’s uncomfortable to leave familiar spaces behind.

    I don’t feel ready to work full-time and I don’t feel ready for graduate school. I have to get ready for something though because I need to continue to grow, and those are the two most viable avenues right now. Perhaps I can travel too but I would only want to travel domestically.

    Anyway…I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my accomplishments as well as my failures because those failures meant that I tried and “trying” is how I’ve been able to have had all of my experiences. I already know I’m going to continue trying new things because I’m doing the YTT and I also have this blog! I’m eager to see what else I will be trying too.

    xx Vic

    PS! Once these moments are over, I will resume posting twice a week with some awesome content. I feel kinda bad about not meeting the deadlines I’ve made for myself for this blog, but I want to change my perspective because I didn’t create this blog to stress myself out. I created it to express myself, to connect with others, and to have fun! Right now, I’m having fun with my friends and my girlfriend before everyone moves away after graduation. I’ll write about it for next Wednesday as I reflect on it all! By then, I will have graduated three times, I will have moved back home, and I will be…on a plane!

    I’m going on a quick family vacation/graduation celebration for a couple of days! More on that later, stay tuned…

    My girlfriend got me the beautiful flowers above and wrote me a sweet letter to celebrate all of my hard work! <3

  • Speaking My Mind

    -Weekend Blog!

    Graduation is in less than two weeks, and my life has been a little hectic in an exciting way. This past weekend I spent my days drinking and snacking at alumni events and other University gatherings with my friends and my girlfriend, hence why I did not get to make a Sunday post this Sunday. I was recovering from all the fun.

    I’ve been enjoying my last days as an undergraduate though because I’ve been celebrating with people that I care about and I also have more exciting activities planned up until graduation (I have three commencements to attend), and even after. Thus, my regular blogging schedule may continue to be a little erratic until late May or the beginning of June.

    Since I didn’t get to post on Sunday because of the senioritis excitement, I will at least detail the festivities I participated in.

    Thursday:

    My girlfriend and I went on a spontaneous date! We greatly enjoy BYOB sushi places, which is what we did at a local place. The drug store near us surprisingly had alcohol (this is a novelty experience in NJ where only liquor stores carry alcohol), and we got a wine that was less than $5! Neither of us had ever found and purchased a wine that cheap (except maybe when I was in Europe) it wasn’t bad wine at all. It easily could have been at least a $10 wine.

    Anyway, it was great because we at sushi and got drunk on cheap wine. Then when we were leaving, we heard live music at a bar and so we popped in. It was a male guitarist who had a great voice. We got Moscow mules, which is my favorite mixed drink at the moment, and had a great time listening to the musician at a pretty hipster place.

    We’ve been to that bar before because it’s also a liquor store, and last time we did BYOB sushi locally, we got a $25 bottle of wine there. That was the most I’ve spent on wine, but it was well worth it. That bottle was from Spain and it was simply divine.