• Short Stories

    The Start of Something New

    Droplets of rain struck my coat and dripped away, joining the puddle at my feet. I hugged myself as I stood underneath the lampost on the corner of the quiet street, waiting. Sighing, I checked my watch again. She was ten minutes late, which wouldn’t have been an issue if the coffee shop wasn’t closed and if it wasn’t pouring.

    Eventually, the headlights of a car shone into my eyes as it parked across the street. Then I got a text.

    I’m here.

    I hurried toward the car, anxious and nervous to meet her. As I neared, she stepped out and took a long drag of her cigarette. Her hair was longer than it was in the pictures of her online profile, and the dark locks were draped loosely over her shoulders.

    “Hey, how are you,” she asked nonchalantly, ignoring the rain.

    “I’m okay. Wet.”

    “I’m sorry for making you wait,” she said.

    I shrugged, feigning indifference.

    After some deliberation between us, and despite my hesitation to get into strangers’ cars, I climbed into the passenger seat beside her. The stench of cigarettes and cologne consumed me. She took one last drag of her cigarette before flicking it out of the window and shifting the car into gear. We drove a couple of blocks to another shop, which was also closing.

    Desperate for a place to hang out, and despite my reluctance to invite strangers into my home, we were soon walking through the halls of my apartment building. She carried a case of beer and her backpack, and I fiddled with my keys in my pocket. I figured that my roommates would notice if something had happened to me in the living room.

    The second we entered my apartment, I went to my room to change. The layers underneath my raincoat had become soaked not from the rain, but from my nervous sweat. When I returned to the living area, I found her already at home, sprawled out on my couch. I took a seat across from her, perched on the edge of my seat.

    She passed me a bottle of liquid courage, which I graciously accepted. First dates are the worst. I didn’t even know if this constituted as a first date.

    Was she having fun? Did she like me? Did she want to just be friends? Did she want to see me again?

    My anxious thoughts were interrupted when she said she had just gotten out of a nearly two-year relationship.

    I supposed dating was no longer on the table.

    © 2019 Vic Romero

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  • 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

    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

    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

  • Holding hands on the train
    Poetry

    When You Meet Your Soulmate

    She pursued me with

    An intensity I had never experienced before.

    It was electrifying, yet terrifying

    I was afraid to get too close

    Afraid to touch

    I didn’t want to be shocked

    By the electricity that coursed between us

    Gosh, this type of love is dangerous

    It’s passionate yet soft

    Curious yet hesitant…

    I wasn’t ready for this

    Was I?

    I wasn’t expecting this

    Why not?

    I didn’t have all the answers

    I just didn’t want her to stop

    Wanting me

     

    © 2018 Vic Romero 

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  • Speaking My Mind

    13 Days

    Finally, a moment to sit and write.

    This past week has been hectic because of my temporary full-time job, so I apologize for my absence. Whenever I return home from work, I want to numb my mind by watching TV, but I’ve been too tired to even do that.

    Anyway…I wanted to chat about my personal life because it has undergone a serious transformation. Namely, my relationship with my family has changed. This has been an ongoing transformation since I moved back home, I just hadn’t thought about writing about it because…I’ve had so many other things I wanted to say I suppose. Plus, sometimes I focus on negative things when I write rather than positive things, and what I want to talk about is extremely positive. It’s still a little surreal to me because I would have never thought, four years ago, that I’d be where I am now.

    One of the first great things that have been going on with me is that I haven’t been fighting with my mom at all. Both she and I have grown so much and we handle our volatile emotions so much better. We both utilize different methods to control our emotions such as a spiritual practice, writing, and Yoga. My mom and I actually share Yoga together now because she attends the class I teach on Friday mornings. It’s a really nice way to spend a little time together because, during the week, both her and I work a lot, so we don’t get to talk much. Yoga on Friday mornings is a beautiful way to check in with each other as well as start our day on the right foot. It’s really sweet we practice together too because she was the first one to suggest I do yoga teacher training, and here I am, now certified and teaching a class that she can attend. It’s so lovely.

    My girlfriend has been coming by the house weekly since September or so, which has been great. Aside from being able to see my girlfriend, my parents are able to see her and get to know her, which is helpful to make them feel more comfortable with my sexuality. My mom really likes her (she told me!) and we all chitchat and drink wine together. It’s so much fun! I never thought that’d happen!

    My aunt invited my girlfriend to Thanksgiving, so my girlfriend is coming. My aunt most likely knows my girlfriend is my girlfriend due to my social media, but the rest of my family probably doesn’t. My girlfriend will be introduced as my friend just to avoid drama at my aunt’s house. My relatives that know me will know though, which is all that matters to me.

    I’ll have to update y’all after Thanksgiving to share how it all went down. In the meantime, I will be trying to enjoy any bits of Halloween that I can! I haven’t watched any Halloween movies yet, which is tragic because there are only 13 days left. I probably will be watching Halloween movies until after Thanksgiving.

    xx Vic

  • Yummy Recipes

    Lentil-Lovin’! – Spiced Moroccan Lentil Recipe Review

    A couple of years ago, my step-grandmother introduced me to the world of lentils. She had shown me a lentil soup recipe that I then cooked on my own until high school consumed my life and I temporarily stopped cooking. I forgot about lentils after that since it’s not a staple in my mom’s Puerto Rican- cooking, or in any other heritage that I am regularly exposed to. It wasn’t until my girlfriend, who is Indian, brought Indian cuisine into my everyday life that I remembered my love for lentils.

    Plus, since I want to make more vegetarian dishes, it’s a great ingredient for a variety of meals!

    I decided to make spiced lentils that I hoped would be similar to a delicious Indian lentil dish I had had. They were not very similar because this lentil dish is Moroccan-inspired, but they were still fantastic! I got this recipe from Minimalist Baker, which is my favorite recipe site as of late. I love this website because they make vegan/vegetarian meals, and many of them are very simple to make. They usually require only a couple of ingredients, most of which I have at home, and they aren’t time-consuming either. I definitely recommend checking them out!

    This recipe called for green lentils specifically…I’m unsure why honestly. I don’t know the difference between lentils. Perhaps it’s akin to differences in beans? I’m a lentil-novice still, so my apologies that I don’t know more.

    I got these lentils from ShopRite, and I thought that compared to other lentils, the green ones were more expensive. That was also because they only had organic green lentils. I don’t know why they didn’t have nonorganic green lentils, but my girlfriend recommended that next time I go to the Indian store to get lentils.

    Aside from lentils, you also need a whole red pepper, onion (I used yellow), tomato paste, fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, and a crap-ton of spices.

    Then, all you have to do is cook the lentils until tender and blend the other ingredients to make a sauce. Once the lentils are cooked, drain the excess water and mix in the blended sauce. Bam, that’s it!

    The cool thing about this recipe is that you can add as much of the required spices as you want so you can make it as spicy, acidic, sweet, and salty as you want! I will forewarn y’all though to taste it as you go…and maybe to slowly add the fresh spices too.

    I personally feel like I added too much garlic and onion to mine. I thought I used the required amount, although I didn’t measure anything…but because you don’t cook the sauce, the bite of the garlic and onion remains pretty intense. If you have sensitive stomachs, and even if you don’t, perhaps cook the onion and garlic a little before you blend it, or cook the sauce after you blend it…or both! I wanted to try cooking it to see how it affected the flavors, but I didn’t get a chance. I expect to make this again so I’ll try it for next time.

    Anyway, here’s the mixture of the sauce with the lentils.

    Below is the dish with my girlfriend’s spicy Indian rice as well as some fresh parsley and cilantro on top. Another time I had this fish with plain jasmine rice and then another time with my girlfriend’s not-spicy Indian rice, and those ways I had it were better. A super flavorful rice competed too much with this spiced lentil dish.

    The last thing I have to say about this recipe is that I find lentils to be a little confusing to make. The only other time I’ve made them has been in soup, which takes awhile to cook so they end up being prepared properly. In this situation, however, my girlfriend felt that I had undercooked them. I ate all six servings myself and I had no idea. I’m going to watch a lentil cooking video next time to ensure that they are prepared properly.

    Do you like lentils? How do you like them prepared?

    I’m going to make a new lentil soup this week so stay tuned for that!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    June & July Favorites!

    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

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    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

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    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

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    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!

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    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.

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    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!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Steadfastness

    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!

    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

     

     

     

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