• 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
    IMG_8736
    Yucca fries

    8 November

    IMG_2733

    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

    IMG_8722

    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.

    IMG_9289
    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

  • 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:

    IMG_5658.jpg

    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!

    IMG_9889

    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.

    IMG_0550.jpg

    What I’m Wearing This Autumn:

    IMG_9060

    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

  • Mysticism

    I Am Where I Need to Be (An Oracle Card Reading)

    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.

    Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards by Angela Hartfield
    Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards by Angela Hartfield

    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.

    Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards Horseshoe Spread
    Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards Horseshoe Spread

    (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 yoga@unziptheselips.com!

    xx Vic

     

     

     

  • Yoga

    Yoga Gear Haul!

    My girlfriend wanted to go to TJ Maxx to get new slippers, but we ended up buying a bunch of items, except for slippers. (She didn’t get slippers because they didn’t have what she wanted).

    I wasn’t even going to buy anything, but then I went to the yoga section and I helplessly got sucked in because they had several items that I had been wanting to purchase for a while.

    In March, I became interested in Mysore rugs because I was trying to figure out a way to prevent slippage while practicing. Slippage can happen in poses like downward facing dog or in lunges. Mysore rugs are common in Ashtanga yoga, which is one of the branches of Hatha yoga, and they were used before yoga mats were developed in the 1960s. People still use them today, particularly in India. Some use them either on top of a yoga mat or on its own, and you can get some reasonably priced ones on Amazon.

    A popular western alternative is yoga towels, which is what I bought for less than $15 at TJ Maxx. They are not eco-friendly, unlike Mysore rugs. I feel conflicted about my purchase because of this, but I also loved the texture of it and I wanted to try it. I still would like to invest in a Mysore rug though, but perhaps another time.

%d bloggers like this: