• Speaking My Mind

    I’m Still Here, I Promise

    My blog has been a little abandoned lately, despite my valiant efforts to care for it. I’ve been having a difficult time harnessing my creativity and inspiration lately, plus all of the posts that I’ve been working on for a few months are no longer interesting to me. I desperately wanted to share something though, so I forced myself to write my most recent post, but I didn’t feel the usual rush of excitement when I was writing it. It was an unsatisfying experience, and this blog is not a space to write unsatisfying posts.

    I suspect my lack of inspiration these days may be attributed to the injured relationship I have with myself right now. It’s the same old story: I’m still looking for a full-time job, and my ego is suffering. I’ve been writing about this issue for months and I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I also don’t want to talk about myself at all.

    So, instead of writing blogs, I’ve been working on some fictional pieces to practice writing creatively. One of my resolutions this year is to work on a long-term writing project, so writing short, fictional pieces aligns with that goal. Due to my lack of creativity at the moment, it’s been a little difficult to finish a piece…but stay tuned.

    xx Vic

     

     

  • Speaking My Mind

    Top 10 Holiday Favorites 2018!

    This is a list of my favorite items from Christmas. Not all of them are gifts, but most of them are. The gifts I received this year were particularly thoughtful and I love them.

    1. The toasted tartelette eyeshadow palette by tarte

    I used to rock all sorts of colorful eyeshadow looks, some of which you can find on my website by searching “Lookbook.” After my cousin passed away, however, I veered away from eyeshadow in favor of just eyeliner because I was depressed and I also didn’t want to spend the time doing my makeup anymore.

    When I went to Ulta with my mom for the annual holiday sale, I picked up this sophisticated palette because I wanted to explore my makeup creativity again. This palette has more sophisticated shades than my older ones, making this palette more versatile for all occasions. I’ve greatly enjoyed creating dramatic looks and neutral looks with these warm shades!

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    2. Yoga Bolster

    I asked my mom for a bolster for yoga for Christmas, and she delivered! She got it at Walmart so I assume that the price was reasonable, although I know they have reasonable ones on Amazon too. I love having a bolster for my home practice. It totally elevates my yoga experience. Plus, it matches my yoga mat so nicely!

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    3. Gluten-Free Holiday Doughnuts

    My parents met someone that owns a gluten-free bakery, and they only make doughnuts on the weekend. My dad got twelve of them because they looked so pretty! They were tasty too, but I barely ate one because they’re very sweet and I try not to consume sugar.

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    4. BBC Radio Production of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

    My favorite type of podcasts are ones that are basically old-school radio shows: there are actors, sound effects, and lots of suspense/drama.

    I wanted to read some Agatha Christie novels and when I saw that there are radio adaptations of her books available through my local library, I was so excited! This was incredibly entertaining to listen to, and I want to listen to the others!

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    5. Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty

    This is an old favorite that I reintroduced to my daily routine. I mean, I don’t use it daily, but I use it several times a week (which may still be overkill). When I used it in college, I was always complimented on the pepperminty smell of it. It’s such a nice treat to start my morning with it because it’s invigorating and leaves my skin feeling luscious. They did increase the price a bit since I last bought it about three years ago, but I think it’s still worth it.

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    6. Lands’ End Holiday Slippers

    My mom got me these for Christmas, aren’t they fun? Slippers are so useful and cozy, and I love the holiday cow on this pair!

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    7. Prep Naturals Mandoline Slicer

    My dad surprised me this year by getting me this super thoughtful gift because he knows I like to cook and that I spend an exorbitant amount of time cutting produce. (In the past, he’s gotten me useful, albeit not for everyday-use items, such as a flashlight for your head). I love this gadget so far, but it can’t be used for all vegetables. For example, I tried cutting a pepper with it, but the pepper was too soft.

    For veggies such as cucumbers, carrots, celery, and probably onions too, this is great! You can adjust how thick you want your produce sliced and it comes with a safety shield and glove! It also came with a spiralizer, which I’m dying to try.

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    8. Tea Strainer

    I found this individual tea strainer on Amazon, and my lovely girlfriend got it for me for Christmas! It’s wonderful because it comes with a small dish to set the strainer in when you don’t need it anymore. There is also a nice long chain with a hook that you can use to hold the tea strainer in place.

    My tea tastes so much better now that I’m not cooking it in the pot of hot water.

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    9. Immersion Blender

    For some reason I didn’t take a picture of the box or of the item, so here is a picture of a sacral chakra soup I made with it! My girlfriend got me this too for Christmas. The blender has several speed settings and it also included a whisk that you can attach to the blender, it’s super nice! I’m eager to make other soups with this blender!

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    10. Puzzle

    My sister got me this puzzle for Christmas because she saw a puzzle I had completed with my girlfriend so she assumed I enjoyed puzzles. I do enjoy puzzles, but I have never completed one of this magnitude before!

    It’s fun to do the puzzle together though. We stay up late working on it and we listen to old classics like the Cheetah Girls and One Direction. It’s been a nice bonding activity. Hopefully, we will complete it before she returns to school!

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    What have been your favorites from the holidays?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    2019

    Hello, everyone and welcome back to my blog!

    I unintentionally took a longer-than-expected break from posting on my blog. In fact, I hadn’t planned to take a break at all, but due to the excessive pressure I was putting on myself to write as well as all of the craziness that is inherent to the holiday season, I went on a break. I’m glad I am returning now that I naturally feel inspired to write.

    During my time away from my blog, I took the GRE, celebrated a stressful version of Christmas, became absorbed by a romance novel series, and relaxed with my friends and my girlfriend. I’m quite relieved that the holiday season is wrapping up and I’m eager to embark on a new year!

    Anyway, I wanted to write a bit about my goals for 2019. Before I share them though, you can check out my post about my goals from 2018! Below are additional goals I had for 2018 that were written in a private journal.

    1. Save money
    2. Invest in myself: blog
    3. Challenge myself: perform
    4. Be creative: crochet and write
    5. Get published!
    6. Apply for PhD
    7. YTT + teach! (500hrs in 5 years?)

    I’m proud to have accomplished many of my goals for 2018 such as graduating from college, writing a killer thesis, investing in myself, challenging myself, and exploring my creativity more.

    There are a few aspirations from 2018 that I’m still working on though, such as getting a job and applying to grad school. Additionally, some of the items on that list are long-term goals, such as getting published and completing 500 hours of yoga teacher training.

    This year, for 2019, I have decided to approach my list differently: I have created resolutions that are short-term oriented, so I can actually accomplish them all in one year. These aspirations break down my longer-term goals into smaller, feasible tasks that ultimately serve as the foundation for the long-term goals I had created in 2017.

    Top 10 Goals for 2019

    1. Allot weekly yoga studying time
    2. Establish a consistent meditation practice, at least weekly
    3. Plan and execute a chakra yoga class series for the spring
    4. Research and book a yoga workshop/training for late 2019/2020
    5. Confidently making decisions! (Such as for grad school)
    6. Integrate cardio at least weekly into my routine
    7. Work daily on a long-term writing project
    8. Continue to maintain this blog and begin planning how to expand it
    9. Complete the rest of the half-read books that I have.
    10. Create a ritual for my ancestors

    I’ll definitely be keeping you all updated on my 2019 endeavors. I’m feeling quite optimistic about them.

    What are your aspirations for 2019? Please share them below!

    Xx Vic

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Speaking My Mind

    My Birthday Week Recap!

    My 23rd birthday was definitely one of the more epic ones!

    6 November – Election Day

    First of all, our campaign was victorious! It was such a great feeling, especially since it was the last day of the job. All of those long hours really paid off. We won by 53%, which makes it even crazier because if we hadn’t been campaigning, the Referendum that we were advocating for definitely wouldn’t have passed.

    We all celebrated at a local bar, and my boss and my family friend kept buying everyone rounds of drinks to celebrate. Since my birthday was only a few hours away (it was the day after Election Day), my family friend kept insisting we do toasts, not only for our success, but also for my birthday. Then my boss, his girlfriend, and I went to another local bar and had a drink there. We waited until it was midnight, AKA officially my birthday, and then he got me an Uber home.

    7 November – My Birthday!

    The next day I was quite hungover, which was a little annoying but thankfully I wasn’t nauseous. I just had a headache from dehydration from all of the cheap glasses of wine I had consumed.

    My girlfriend came by early in the day to take me to my car, which I had left at the first bar. Then I dropped the car off and we went to my favorite Thai place for lunch! Afterwards, we went to my alma mater to hang out until I went to dinner with my family.

    My second favorite place to eat is a Spanish restaurant which is located where I went to school, and that is where I ate with my family! This was the third year in a row that I’ve eaten there for my birthday because the food is absolutely divine and the atmosphere is wonderful as well. My last two birthdays have been on a Monday and a Tuesday though, so they weren’t particularly lively when we went out to eat at the restaurant. This year, however, my birthday was on a Wednesday and they had live music! I love live music, so I was living it up. It was some groovy salsa band and they were fantastic!

    Here are some pictures of what we ate!

    Homemade guacamole with a variety of homemade plantain, sweet potato, radish, and potato chips
    Homemade guacamole with a variety of homemade plantain, sweet potato, radish, and potato chips
    Vaca frita con maduros y arroz con abichuelas and a white sangria
    Vaca frita con maduros y arroz con abichuelas and a white sangria
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    Yucca fries

    8 November

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    The day after my birthday I bought these beautiful boots that I’m obsessed with, thanks to my grandparents! They’re by Marc Fisher, whom I’m only familiar with because I had purchased a pair of boots by him two years ago! Those boots are only booties though, whereas these are killer tall boots! The story behind them is pretty amusing too…

    I went to DSW to search for booties without a heel because I only have one pair without a heel. I tried on about twenty pairs of booties, but I didn’t love any of them and the ones that I did like didn’t fit my feet right. They were either oddly too loose or too tight. Even my mom tried some of the booties on and noticed that they weren’t fitting properly.

    After being disappointed with the booties, I decided to try on tall boots. I have two pairs of tall boots but only one of them is more “professional,” so I thought another nicer pair would be great. My mom found these and I tried them on, and it was like a Cinderella moment! The shoes fit like a glove! When I was walking around to see how they felt, a shopper stopped and stared at me and said, “Wow, those are nice boots.” Then I turned around to show her the back of the boots where the studs were, and she was pretty stunned. I then decided that those boots were mine, and I’m so glad because I love them so much!

    9 November

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    My mom is having the bathroom redone so they turned off the water for a few hours. Thus, I took advantage of the community center yoga class and shower that day! I took a great class and then I took a nice hot shower and got super fancy for the day, including my beautiful new boots!

    Then I went to lunch with a friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in over a year. We caught up at Panera, then migrated to Starbucks. My girlfriend had a job interview in the area so she came by to join us. Then we got two bottles of wine from the liquor store and took the party back to my parents’ house, where they were having their own little gathering. We all drank wine and ate my mom’s burgers and chatted, it was so much fun! Then we watched the first episode of the new Sabrina series on Netflix. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo with my friend, but I will see her one more time before she goes back to New Hampshire!

    10 November

    On Saturday, my girlfriend and I went into the city! We were going to go to a museum but by the time we arrived, neither of us wanted to go. We ended up walking around to see the local sites instead.

    Macy’s had already decorated the store inside and Bryant Park was bustling with shoppers at the boutiques, people dining, and ice skaters. My girlfriend wanted to ice skate but I don’t enjoy ice skating so we ate poutine with duck bacon instead. It was fun to be in such a busy and festive environment!

    Then we went to the Amazon bookstore! I had been meaning to go there for a few months but I never had the chance. The Amazon bookstore is different than other bookstores because they include the star rating of the book as well as a quote from a reviewer. They also do what Amazon is famous for doing, which is suggesting books you may like based on a book you have read. For example, they had a shelf saying if you read Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, you may like other poetry books. Amazon’s bookstore also included some Amazon technology. It was a cool environment. I don’t believe they included book prices though…

    After the bookstore, we walked to Rockefeller to check out the tree! It was also a bustling environment but it wasn’t as fun as Bryant Park was.

    11 November

    On Sunday, I spent my day crocheting myself a new hat! The last time I made a hat for myself was four or five years ago, but I had loomed it. You can see it in the photos of me in NYC, but below is a better picture of the type of yarn. It’s a beautiful yarn but it’s not very warm and it’s just time I made myself a new one! So I followed a tutorial on YouTube, which was surprisingly super easy, and now I have a nice new hat! I’d like to get a pompom for the top of it.

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    My old loomed hat

    That sums up my birthday week! It was such a fun time and I’m grateful to have concluded my 23rd year on Earth, in this lifetime, with people I care about.

    Now I’m back to reality, which includes finding a new job and resuming studying for the GRE. I have a new strategy for getting a job this time…I’ll talk about it more if it works out.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Twenty-Three

    I can’t believe my birthday is tomorrow because October seems to have come and gone so quickly. I did my best to enjoy October, although I didn’t get to watch all the Halloween movies I wanted to because my work schedule is so hectic. I also wasn’t able to go apple picking or carve a pumpkin, but I’ll try to do those things next year!

    Anyway…aside from a family birthday dinner, I don’t have anything special planned this year. I’d like to go to the city this weekend but we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, I thought it’d be fun to revisit my birthday posts on my blog since I’ve written birthday posts since 2013! Time really does fly…

    Eighteen

    Nineteen

    Twenty

    Twenty-one

    Twenty-two

    I hope y’all had a wonderful Halloween and I hope November is going well so far for you! Today is my last day of work and I’m working like 12 hours, so my birthday tomorrow will be extra sweet since it’ll be a well-deserved break. After today I should have more time to write so there will be more blog posts coming soon!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Plant-Based and Sugar-Free Living

    I’ve changed my diet a bit more since my last post, so I thought it was about time to update y’all! I have now excluded all sugar from my diet, including honey. I’ve also been eating plant-based as much as possible, with the goal of one plant-based meal per day. Usually, I eat some sort of animal protein for dinner.

    Cutting out sugar has been harder than reducing my meat intake. Sugar is addictive, so the difficulty can probably be attributed mostly to that, although I do love sweets in general. Now, when I crave chocolate (yes, I’ve even reduced my chocolate intake. When I do eat chocolate, I eat 85% cacao because there is less sugar), I opt for fruit. My go-to fruits lately have been apples and grapes. I like to pair my apples with grocery store-made almond butter. They make the almond butter there for you and it’s delicious!

    Overall, I enjoy eating a more plant-based diet. It feels better in my body and I get to support local farmers because I buy most of my produce from them! I’ve been using Sahara Rose’s new Ayurvedic cookbook to make plant-based meals, and they’ve been so tasty. I can talk about recipes I’ve been trying from her book another time, but I highly recommend you check out her book.

    One day, I would like to be vegetarian, but I’m hesitant to do so now because over the summer I lost a couple of pounds…which isn’t bad necessarily, my weight does fluctuate a little bit, but I’m afraid I’d lose more weight by becoming vegetarian. I’m also afraid of having vitamin deficiencies. Plus I don’t want to have such a prohibitive diet because cutting out dairy and sugar are difficult enough…to exclude animal protein would be even harder. So for now, I’m just doing the best that I can to eat lots of veggies and plant-protein while avoiding sugar and dairy.

    xx Vic

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