I’m super excited about this post! I’ve never done a “favorites” post before and I think it’s a fun addition to my blog. My favorite items range from books, clothes, food, and beauty supplies, so there is something for everyone. Let’s get started!
Favorite Sunscreen: CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion
I got this product after reading several articles about how the most common sunscreen in stores has been damaging coral reefs and it’s also not good for your body. You can look this up online for the details, but the gist is that the chemicals found in sunscreen interfere with hormones and such in your body. This sunscreen is made with zinc, which is a natural element, thus it’s better for your body and for coral reefs! What I have noticed though is that unless you make sure to rub it in, you may have some white residue on your face. Just make sure to look in a mirror before you take photos or go out haha
Favorite Lotion: Sleep Lotion from Bath and Body Works
I love Bath and Body Works! I go on a shopping spree there with my mom and sister at least four times a year so we have scents for every season. The store recently had their Biannual Rubber Ducky Sale, so I snagged this for around $5-7 whereas it’s usually around $15! While I have tried many of their lotions and scents, I think this one is my favorite and I definitely will have to repurchase. The scent is so relaxing and warm, I love it. It’s also super moisturizing! Since I’ve been shaving my legs for the summer, my legs get really raw and irritated but this lotion soothes them and locks the moisture in for 24 hours. It’s the perfect solution!
Favorite Book: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass
I know I listed two books but in my defense, the books were combined into one book, so, I count them as one. This series is phenomenal and incredibly thought-provoking. I purchased the edition published by Penguin and they included all these amazing footnotes that provided a ton of insight on the characters as well as the author. This makes a great summer read because it’s simultaneously philosophical and whimsical! Follow me on GoodReads if you want to link up about books!! You can find me by going onto the main page of my website and in the right sidebar, click on one of the books that I am currently reading.
Favorite Drink: Taco Bell’s Watermelon Freeze
This drink is iconic! It’s not too sweet in my opinion and the flavor is so tasty! The only suggestion I have for this drink is to make the sugar candies chocolate candies instead. It would be more reminiscent of Friendly’s Watermelon Roll (did anyone else grow up eating these slices of heaven???) and it would, therefore, be better overall. The chocolate would provide a beautiful contrast to the sweet and sourness of the slush. Perhaps when I get it again, I’ll add chocolate chips myself and report back!
Favorite Chocolate: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Ginger
I am obsessed with ginger! It’s my favorite spice. I also have a deep love for dark chocolate, which I eat daily. Two of my favorite things combined together is pure heaven! I was first exposed to this delicious dessert when my girlfriend bought me dark chocolate ginger candies to make me feel better. I don’t know if I was suffering from allergies or if I was sad, but it was one of the best treats she’s given to me and also the worst because unfortunately, chocolate ginger candies are sooo hard to find! I’ve only seen them at ShopRite where they had half the size of this container yet at the same price, and at Trader Joe’s, which is the best option for this delectable treat. I may have to make them myself, honestly.
Favorite Dessert: Trader Joe’s Gone Bananas!
I strongly advise against buying this because it will ruin you. I devour almost the whole box in one sitting, they are way too delicious. They are so good that now whenever we go to Trader Joe’s, my family buys at least four boxes. Obviously, we can make this ourselves and it’d be cheaper to do so. In fact, my sister and I did make a version of this last summer, however, we didn’t cut the bananas up into slices. Banana slices make frozen bananas less painful to eat because you are less likely to get brain freeze or feel pain in your teeth from biting into a frozen banana half. Next time I make this, I will definitely be cutting the bananas into slices!
Favorite Outfit of the Day: Tangerines!!
My sister and mom picked out this cute tangerine top from Anthropologie for me, and I love it! It’s the perfect shirt for summer because it can be worn casually or more dressy as I wore it in these pictures. I paired the shirt with fancy, woven shorts from Abercrombie I bought two years when I used to work there.
My orange earrings and bracelet (the engraving in the bracelet is a coqui) are from Puerto Rico when my mom went to visit my grandma. I think I got the goldstone bracelet during a Florida trip back when my grandparents were still alive. Lastly, the watch is a gift my mom got for me for my most recent birthday.
Those are all of my favorites for these last two months! I’d like to continue this series if not every month, at least every other month. Perhaps I can integrate some things that I got that I don’t like too! I also want to do lookbooks/OOTD pics again. I take photos for them but I haven’t posted them since like…2014/2015?
Have you tried any of the things that I’ve listed, or are you interested in trying something that I shared? What are some of your favorite items from the last two months? Let me know in the comments below!
My reflection is dark and difficult to see in my glass. It’s a passionate red mixed with the heaviness of black, of nothingness. Or it’s blood that is bled slowly. Painfully.
I frown, and so does my reflection. This annoys me. What does she have to frown about? I bet her life on the other side of the wine glass is fantastic, I mean, she gets to swim in wine all of the time!
I may sound a little jealous of her, but I’m not. My life isn’t not fantastic, it’s just difficult right now. Wine-glass women probably don’t deal with any of life’s challenges, whereas normal people, like me, do.
I swirl the merlot around and I guess my reflection gets scared by the sudden tsunami because it disappears. Finally, I’m alone at last, lone for the screeching crickets on the other side of my front porch.
My knees begin to pinch so I uncross them from underneath me and rest them on the small foldable side table in front of me. A mosquito must’ve smelled my freshly exposed legs because it immediately begins to fly around them, so I swat it away. I should head back inside soon. First I want to finish my last glass of wine.
I take a meager sip and the bitterness of the fermented juice bites the tip of my tongue. Then I take a gulp and it burns my throat, but not as much as it did with the first glass. Still, I relish the slight pain and the way the wine causes my balance to swirl.
I down the rest of the glass. The rest of the expensive wine is gone at last. Thus, any remnants of him are gone too. I set the glass down on the table, next to my feet. Don’t drunkenly knock it down when I get up, I stress to myself.
Leaning back in my rocking chair, I close my eyes and succumb to the deafening screeching of the crickets. I reflect. I feel good…not great, but good. I feel different than how I was expecting to feel though. I thought that finally being done warranted a celebration, but instead it just feels a little empty. Not necessarily in a bad way. There’s just more room in my heart for other people.
Satisfied with this conclusion of a chapter in my life, I rock forward and pull my feet off of the table, and my feet gracefully knock the wine glass to the ground. Shit.
© 2018 Vic Romero
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Be focused on your purpose and know that your effort isn’t futile. Don’t give up.
This card from my Ganesha oracle deck makes me emotional every time I pull it, despite how often I’ve pulled it (which is a lot). This card feels extremely applicable to my life at the current moment because I have been struggling with questions of my purpose and prosperity again, which make me feel like giving up. I’ve been crying about how futile anything I do seems, but…whenever I get this card, I remember I have to refocus and shift my perspective. As one of my new yoga teachers has said, “like attracts like.” If I’m applying for jobs and thinking “what’s the point? I’m not even gonna get an interview,” I’m definitely not going to get an interview with my attitude.
It seems so obvious but it’s sooo hard for me to actually do. It’s hard for my girlfriend too, who is constantly grounding me when I get too caught up in my head with my pessimism.
In fact, my girlfriend helped motivate me to actually accomplish some of my seemingly daunting goals! I made a list of eight graduate school programs I want to research more and plan to apply to. I also researched yoga studios local to me to contact to try to get a yoga job.
I felt pretty excited with these small accomplishments because I suddenly felt like my big dreams were feasible. I have a ton of more work to do but I’ve made some small steps in the right direction.
I am excited to continue practicing steadfastness and to make more progress toward my goals! I’m definitely going to make the theme of the community yoga class I’m teaching in August about steadfastness…and whenever I get to audition for a studio, I will use that class as well! It’d help ground me and inspire me while I teach because I feel so connected with the concept.
What does steadfastness mean to you? How can you apply steadfastness in your life? Please share below!
I’m now a certified vinyasa yoga instructor! I’m so proud of myself and so grateful to have been able to earn this certification. It has been life-changing and eye-opening.
I’ve been wanting to write about my experience for forever, but the last two weeks have been unusually busy. Two weeks ago it was July 4th weekend and I was studying for my yoga final and spending some much-needed quality time with my girlfriend. Last week was the final week of my training and then we had a party to celebrate on Friday. Saturday I attended my step-grandma’s nephew’s wedding (weird? I know, but it was fun!) and then my parents left for a 10-day vacation. My weeks aren’t usually this eventful.
Now that I’ve graduated both from college and this training program, my days have slowed down a bit, thus I’ve resumed the arduous and depressing task of applying for jobs! Also, yesterday I spontaneously purchased a new member pass to a local yoga studio to become more acquainted with the yoga community. I also am hoping to teach at this yoga studio. I have some other studios in mind too though in case it doesn’t pan out.
Something needs to pan out though because I desperately need to work. The stress that comes with job applications has unfortunately returned, despite it being managed better due to Yoga as well as my wonderful girlfriend’s insight. I’m so pleased I got a month pass to attend an unlimited amount of yoga classes though because it will provide some much-needed structure until I figure out the job stuff. Plus I love yoga and I am trying different styles of yoga through this studio! It’s awesome.
Some things I’ve been thinking about lately, other than jobs, have been doctorate programs and whether to create a website just for yoga stuff.
In regards to the first thing…I still have to look at program curriculums but right now, I am interested in pursuing a doctorate in Women’s and Gender Studies. I feel nervous for being interested in that type of program though because it’s a relatively new field and aside from academia, I imagine job prospects to be bleak. That may not be the case but considering I have been having a difficult time getting a job with a degree in economics as well as WGS, I expect to deal with similar or worse challenges if I specialize in WGS only. On the other hand, because it’s a new field, I could be part of groundbreaking work such as helping to establish it as a notable field as well as being one of the first teachers in WGS to have studied WGS (currently, most WGS professors have diverse backgrounds of study ranging from Africana studies to economics to sociology).
The other thing I’ve been pondering about is the development of a professional website. This website that I’ve been using for four or five years now is quite personal, so I feel uncomfortable sharing it with people that I know and using it to advertise my business…it’s not a business website anyway, it’s my personal website. I should probably make a professional yoga website but websites are not cheap and as I’ve mentioned before, I need a job.
The lack of a job is making me nervous for next month because I don’t know what I will do. Will I be working a 9-5 an hour away from home? When will I have time to do yoga then? Will I get a job that will force me to relocate? How can I advertise for my yoga services if I can’t afford to make the website and if I have a job and can afford to make the website, how will I provide services if I’m working full-time?
I’m uncertain when I should invest money to make money and when I should save it I guess. I mean..I invested money to get the training so maybe I should save it now and make a free yoga website until I am able to upgrade? Any thoughts?
I keep revisiting my dream life scenario where I have my PhD so I am able to conduct research and teach, and then also teach yoga. To achieve this dream life though, I’ll definitely have to undergo some uncomfortable shifts of time-management and I’ll also have to do things I don’t enjoy. Or…as what Yoga philosophy argues…I may not expect to enjoy it but I should find contentment in what I’m doing regardless.
I really want to write posts about yoga, which may be more suitable for a yoga-focused website. One cool thing though is that I will be able to write for a yoga teacher’s website! I was introduced to her through the famous yoga Facebook group I always mention and she was looking for guest writers! Whenever my article is posted on her site, I’ll let y’all know!
you fall in slow-motion:
as you realize you are falling
and as your hand is ripped
out of mine
ruby lips agape
i’m entranced by the shock
that is spread across your face
the shock that you feign
we both saw this coming
but unlike you,
i opted to cross
the street and let you go
your head smacks the ground
splitting open like a juicy watermelon
the fresh flesh gushing out of the cracks
forming rivulets that crawl over the pavement
like red highlights in your hair
© 2017 Vic Romero
A couple of months ago, when I was at the beginning of my yoga journey, I had asked in the yoga Facebook group I’m part of about tarot cards. I was interested in learning more about them and possibly integrating them into my practice. As someone who is not particularly spiritual, I wanted to learn about different spiritual practices. The members of the group responded that in order to get tarot cards, it is recommended that you go in person and that you purchase the cards that call to you. Well, I don’t frequent spiritual shops, in fact, I’ve never been to one, so I looked on Amazon for a couple of days to see what types of decks are available, but then I forgot about it and moved on…
Until I was in the back of the cluttered East Meets West with my girlfriend, looking at crystals and books. It was then when I came across an amazing deck of cards that seemingly chose me. The cards honor the Hindu god, Ganesha, who has the body of a man but he has an elephant head.
I was drawn to these particular cards because I had learned about Lord Ganesha in my yoga training. I found the tales about him and how he got his elephant head rather amusing thus, I was very attracted to this deck. I checked on Amazon to see if the cards were cheaper there, which they weren’t. The cards were actually the same price, and out of 103 ratings, it had 5 stars. Then I immediately purchased the deck.
When I returned home, I eagerly opened the cards up and read the manual (which I believe is rather thorough and well-written). I became more excited about the deck when I read that Ganesha is revered for removing obstacles to allow people to achieve success. He is also a god of cleverness, learning, and intelligence. I did not know this beforehand but it made me feel like I needed this deck because of where I currently am at in my life AKA a recent college graduate who is still figuring out what to do now that I’ve graduated.
One of the suggested spreads called, Ganesha’s Horseshoe Spread, is precisely about discerning what your next step is and what obstacles are in your way, so I did that one. Interestingly, the cards I pulled were topics I write about on my blog all of the time.
(Underneath is my wooden picture of Baymax from Big Hero 6, so don’t mind that. Aren’t these cards beautiful though?!)
The first card, which for me is “Positive Outlook,” represents where I am in my life now. While I always struggle with maintaining a positive outlook similarly to everyone else, I believe that I have made great strides in achieving this as a more permanent state of mind. I’ve been working on quieting my negative outlook by meditating and/or using breathing techniques. By changing my outlook on life, I’ve also been inspiring others to change their outlook. A recent example is when my dad was complaining about a meeting he had the next day, and he was already saying it was going to be horrible. I suggested that he change his perspective because if he went in with that mindset, it definitely would be horrible. I didn’t think he would heed my advice at all, but the next day he surprised me and told me he tried what I had said and his meeting actually went well! It was a cool and inspiring moment.
The second card that I pulled is what my next step or task is, which is “Perseverance.” This resonated with me because my mind has been so focused on my previous “failures,” which makes me want to give up entirely.
Despite applying to at least thirty jobs this summer, I have not even had an invitation for a phone interview. Why bother applying to jobs then? What’s the point of this yoga teacher training if I’m not part of a local yoga community? Is it just another avenue for interminable failure? Is it just another degree where I still won’t be able to get a job?
It is important for me to maintain my positive outlook so I can continue to persevere, which would look something like this…
Okay, so I haven’t had any job interviews yet. SO WHAT? When this training is over, I’ll buckle down and keep applying. I will apply to jobs I actually want to do. I will get a yoga teaching job too. I will go to different yoga studios and try out their classes and find my place somewhere. It is an accomplishment and a blessing to be able to have my Bachelor’s as well as a yoga teaching license. They will provide me with opportunities I will otherwise not have. I will keep going because I have all of these skills and so much knowledge, and it’d be a waste to not share it with others!
The third card represents an obstacle I have to overcome, which for me is “Nurture.” When I first flipped this card over, I thought that it meant I needed to overcome my family. To me, this could mean that I need to worry less about how they perceive me and that I need to have difficult conversations with them when/if necessary to be visible. When I read the instruction manual’s description of what the card meant though, I realized the card could be referring to an obstacle that is greater than my family. The card represents taking care of yourself before taking care of others and being more resourceful and practical. I feel like this description is applicable to my life as well as how I interpreted the card because I have been rather exhausted lately with the intensive yoga training. While I have had some alone time…it hasn’t been sufficient because when I’m not doing yoga, I want to spend time with my family or with my girlfriend. So…I will work more on nurturing myself which means to prioritize myself, and that can be expressed by overcoming obstacles I encounter with my family.
The fourth card indicates that my strength and resource for overcoming obstacles and for discerning my next step is “Cultivation.” Without reading the meaning of the card in the manual, I thought that this card was about how I need to focus more on what I want to cultivate in my life than on what I cannot do, which relates to the previous cards I described. The manual gave an interesting description of this card though, which I think is valuable to me as well. The manual describes this card as indicating how music can heal, encourage, and nurture the soul. The manual recommends listening to soothing music to inspire me and to gain more clarity about what I am creating in my life. For anyone who has read my blog and has seen the music I include with poems and stories and/or knows me, my taste in music is not calming. It is the complete opposite. I’m just a sucker for gravel-y voices, screaming, emotional lyrics, and heavy drums, what can I say?
Regardless, it may be beneficial to integrate calming music into my daily routine. We’ll see what happens!
The last card tells me what my new focus or outcome is, and mine is “Acceptance.” This kinda surprised me because while this is something that is certainly important to me, considering it is a major theme of my blog and in my life, I thought I had achieved it. But…upon a second reflection, maybe I haven’t.
I’ve been primarily focused on what I don’t have when comparing myself to everyone else: I don’t have a job opportunity, I don’t have any interviews, I haven’t taken the GRE’s, I don’t have a clue what I want to study for grad school, if I even want to go to grad school…I don’t live on my own, I don’t have a car, I don’t have a clean room. I’m not hanging out with my friends in my spare time and I’m not doing the summer activities I want to do, while everyone else is. I don’t have any answers to questions anyone asks me about my aspirations!
Or at least I don’t think I do.
I’ve tried to refrain from social media to reduce the comparison trap, but lately, I’ve been spending my spare time on social media. How does that make sense?? Of course I’d be complaining about what I don’t have and how I don’t have any answers to my life when all I’m doing in my spare time is mindlessly scrolling through what everyone else is doing.
So, I need to stop. I need to focus on accepting where I am now, and only focus on myself. That’s how I’m going to get to wherever I need to be. Plus, it’ll make me happier overall.
Even though it may feel bleak when I wonder how I will achieve success, and what that success will even look like, it’s only bleak because I’m not practicing the most yogic lifestyle. I will heed the advice from my card reading as I make these changes.
I decided that instead of looking at Instagram first thing when I will wake up, I will pull one card and gain some insight into what I should focus on for that day. I will make that card my daily intention. Then, whenever it feels right to do a horseshoe spread again, I will do it and I will write about my experience.
What obstacles do you feel like you need to overcome to achieve a new outcome? Please let me know in the comments below!
If you are interested in a card reading, comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
i try to listen to my heart,
but the clamor
of a million tiny hammers
rings in my ears
as they bang against my skull
causing my eyes to water
and drown out my heartbeat
you can’t do it, you can’t do anything
you won’t get what you want
i close my eyes and beg the tiny hammers to stop
take an inhale,
the hammers pause.
and then i can hear it
i can hear my heart
© 2018 Vic Romero
The door slammed behind me, muffling his roar. Maybe I could no longer hear him at that moment, but I would probably hear him later because it was certainly not the last time we were going to have this conversation, if you could even call it that. Most conversations I have do not include faces red with fury, the slamming of hands on the walls and tables, spit from angrily enunciating words while shouting, and only one person vocalizing their thoughts while the other shrinks into their seat. Most conversations do not look like this, except for the conversations I have been having with him lately.
“Where are you going?” my sister asked from the stairwell as I powered down the hall.
“Out,” I replied tersely, grabbing my car keys and slamming the front door behind me.
No amount of doors slammed could quell the rage that I had to suppress while he had verbally torn me apart.
Tobacco and spearmint lingered on my tongue, and I touched my lips, smiling as I remembered why. With my other hand, I twisted the key in the lock and opened the front door. I froze in fear when I saw a figure standing in the stairwell, but then I realized who it was and relaxed, although annoyance quickly replaced that feeling.
“It’s past 11. Where have you been?”
“Out,” I stated.
“An eleven PM curfew means you have to be here at eleven, not leave where you are at eleven,” she explained, irritated.
“I lost track of time.”
“Who were you with?”
Exasperated, I threw my hands up in the air. “I already told you!”
“Don’t raise your voice at me. Remind me.”
“Marisa…the usual,” I explained, struggling to level my voice.
“Where did you go?” she inquired.
“Dunkin, Starbucks, whatever was open.”
“Those places close at ten. What did you do for an hour?”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “I’m going to my room,” I replied, shrugging past her and heading up the stairs.
“Answer my question!” she yelled after me.
“We were outside. I’ll make you an itinerary next time,” I said, slamming my bedroom door behind me.
My bedroom door burst open and she stormed in, leering down at me as I lay in bed.
“Good morning,” I sarcastically greeted her, sitting up.
“What does this mean?!” she asked, desperation evident in her voice as she threw papers onto my lap.
I briskly shuffled through them and then calmly met her watery stare. “Where did you find these?”
“Well, I don’t know what they mean,” I replied, handing them back to her.
“Is this who you are?” she asked shrilly.
“No. I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you ‘don’t know?’” she shrieked.
“I don’t know!” I yelled, tossing off my blanket and standing up. “I told you everything I know!”
She challenged me with her eyes for a few beats before turning and storming out of my room, slamming the bedroom door shut behind her.
I slowly opened my bedroom door, and we tentatively emerged from behind it. My heart pounded as she looked down at us from the stairs that led to her master bedroom. She spoke sternly and carefully. After a brief interrogation, she dismissed us with a threat to call the police if I bring the woman beside me home again, and she informed me that we were going to discuss this later. As per usual, there probably wouldn’t be too much discussion. Numbly, I nodded, and then we raced down the stairs, seeking out safety in my car.
She leaned over the middle barrier in the car and tilted her head up toward me, smiling. “Alright, well I have to head home, but text me when you get home.”
I nodded and leaned the rest of the way to kiss her awaiting lips. When she pulled away, she smiled at me, causing my heart to flutter. She looked out the windshield and started talking animatedly about our weekend plans, but then she paused.
“Hold on,” she said, her eyebrows furrowing as she focused on the rearview mirror. “What’s that?”
I looked at where she was pointing. Behind the rearview mirror was a small, black microphone. My heart raced as realization struck.
“Can I pull it down?” she asked. I silently nodded in acquiesce.
She turned the microphone over in her hands, raising it closer to her eyes. “I don’t know if this is a recording device, or if it’s just part of your car.”
“I don’t know. My dad regularly works on the car, so I don’t know.”
She put it back behind the rearview mirror and looked at me. “I’ll take a look at it more closely tomorrow when I see you. Try to relax for now.”
I tersely nodded. She lifted her hand to my cheek, cupped it and pulled me toward her for a last goodbye kiss. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the one before. “It’ll be okay,” she murmured. “Text me.”
Then she opened the door and climbed out of my car.
I reluctantly got into the passenger side of my car. He wanted to take a drive with me to get gas, which was thoughtful but I knew he had an ulterior motive.
We rode in silence for ten minutes, and after he told the gas attendant to fill it up, he began his speech.
“I don’t understand you anymore,” he confessed, looking over at me sadly.
I met his eyes and replied, “I’m just not hiding anymore, but I’m the same.”
He shook his head. “No, you hid from us for years.”
“There was never a reason to bring it up.”
“You could’ve brought up that you were struggling.”
“I needed to figure things out for myself.”
The attendant returned to the driver’s side mirror, and my dad handed him cash. We sat in silence while the worker counted the change and handed it to back to my dad. My dad restarted the ignition and pulled out of the station, heading home.
© 2016, 2018 Vic Romero
In honor of Pride Month, which has passed but…I thought I’d share regardless.