• 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

     

     

     

  • Picture of a rearview mirror reflecting the road behind the car
    Short Stories

    Demanding Visibility

    The door slammed behind me, muffling his roar.  Maybe I could no longer hear him at that moment, but I would probably hear him later because it was certainly not the last time we were going to have this conversation, if you could even call it that.  Most conversations I have do not include faces red with fury, the slamming of hands on the walls and tables, spit from angrily enunciating words while shouting, and only one person vocalizing their thoughts while the other shrinks into their seat. Most conversations do not look like this, except for the conversations I have been having with him lately.

    “Where are you going?” my sister asked from the stairwell as I powered down the hall.

    “Out,” I replied tersely, grabbing my car keys and slamming the front door behind me.

    No amount of doors slammed could quell the rage that I had to suppress while he had verbally torn me apart.

    Tobacco and spearmint lingered on my tongue, and I touched my lips, smiling as I remembered why.  With my other hand, I twisted the key in the lock and opened the front door. I froze in fear when I saw a figure standing in the stairwell, but then I realized who it was and relaxed, although annoyance quickly replaced that feeling.

    “It’s past 11.  Where have you been?”

    “Out,” I stated.

    “An eleven PM curfew means you have to be here at eleven, not leave where you are at eleven,” she explained, irritated.

    “I lost track of time.”

    “Who were you with?”

    “My friends.”

    “Which friends?”

    Exasperated, I threw my hands up in the air.  “I already told you!”

    “Don’t raise your voice at me. Remind me.”

    “Marisa…the usual,” I explained, struggling to level my voice.

    “Where did you go?” she inquired.

    “Out.”

    “Out where?”

    “Dunkin, Starbucks, whatever was open.”

    “Those places close at ten.  What did you do for an hour?”

    I narrowed my eyes at her.  “I’m going to my room,” I replied, shrugging past her and heading up the stairs.

    “Answer my question!” she yelled after me.

    “We were outside.  I’ll make you an itinerary next time,” I said, slamming my bedroom door behind me.

    My bedroom door burst open and she stormed in, leering down at me as I lay in bed.

    “Good morning,” I sarcastically greeted her, sitting up.

    “What does this mean?!” she asked, desperation evident in her voice as she threw papers onto my lap.

    I briskly shuffled through them and then calmly met her watery stare.  “Where did you find these?”

    “Online.”

    “Well, I don’t know what they mean,” I replied, handing them back to her.

    “Is this who you are?” she asked shrilly.

    “No.  I don’t know.”

    “What do you mean you ‘don’t know?’” she shrieked.

    “I don’t know!” I yelled, tossing off my blanket and standing up.  “I told you everything I know!”

    She challenged me with her eyes for a few beats before turning and storming out of my room, slamming the bedroom door shut behind her.

    I slowly opened my bedroom door, and we tentatively emerged from behind it.  My heart pounded as she looked down at us from the stairs that led to her master bedroom.  She spoke sternly and carefully.  After a brief interrogation, she dismissed us with a threat to call the police if I bring the woman beside me home again, and she informed me that we were going to discuss this later.  As per usual, there probably wouldn’t be too much discussion.  Numbly, I nodded, and then we raced down the stairs, seeking out safety in my car.

    She leaned over the middle barrier in the car and tilted her head up toward me, smiling.  “Alright, well I have to head home, but text me when you get home.”

    I nodded and leaned the rest of the way to kiss her awaiting lips.  When she pulled away, she smiled at me, causing my heart to flutter.  She looked out the windshield and started talking animatedly about our weekend plans, but then she paused.

    “Hold on,” she said, her eyebrows furrowing as she focused on the rearview mirror.  “What’s that?”

    I looked at where she was pointing.  Behind the rearview mirror was a small, black microphone.  My heart raced as realization struck.

    “Can I pull it down?” she asked.  I silently nodded in acquiesce.

    She turned the microphone over in her hands, raising it closer to her eyes.  “I don’t know if this is a recording device, or if it’s just part of your car.”

    “I don’t know.  My dad regularly works on the car, so I don’t know.”

    She put it back behind the rearview mirror and looked at me.  “I’ll take a look at it more closely tomorrow when I see you.  Try to relax for now.”

    I tersely nodded.  She lifted her hand to my cheek, cupped it and pulled me toward her for a last goodbye kiss.  I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the one before.  “It’ll be okay,” she murmured.  “Text me.”

    Then she opened the door and climbed out of my car.

    I reluctantly got into the passenger side of my car.  He wanted to take a drive with me to get gas, which was thoughtful but I knew he had an ulterior motive.

    We rode in silence for ten minutes, and after he told the gas attendant to fill it up, he began his speech.

    “I don’t understand you anymore,” he confessed, looking over at me sadly.

    I met his eyes and replied, “I’m just not hiding anymore, but I’m the same.”

    He shook his head.  “No, you hid from us for years.”

    “There was never a reason to bring it up.”

    “You could’ve brought up that you were struggling.”

    “I needed to figure things out for myself.”

    The attendant returned to the driver’s side mirror, and my dad handed him cash.  We sat in silence while the worker counted the change and handed it to back to my dad.  My dad restarted the ignition and pulled out of the station, heading home.

    © 2016, 2018 Vic Romero

    In honor of Pride Month, which has passed but…I thought I’d share regardless. 

  • Yoga

    What I Eat in a Day: Yogi-in-Training

    While I usually eat pretty well, I’ve refined my diet more to benefit my skin, ovulation cycle, and my body! The meals I’ve been eating have been filling and delicious, so I wanted to share them. I only included breakfast and lunch because my lunch is usually leftovers from dinner.

    6:30am Breakfast:

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    Toast and Berries

    This isn’t just any toast- it’s toast with goat cheese! I don’t regularly eat goat cheese but since I’ve eliminated dairy from my diet to benefit my skit and ovulation, I’ve chosen not to consume cheese from cows. Thus, goat cheese has come into my life and it’s quite good! I purchased a small, spreadable one from the grocery store and it helps keep me satisfied until I finally eat lunch at noon.  Goat cheese and toast was a recommended breakfast in the book I’ve been reading, Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden, because goat cheese has some protein and the toast provides carbs. I eat some berries (and take some to go!) to make things a little more tasty.

    By the way: If you don’t already, you should follow me on Goodreads and I’ll follow you back!

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    Chai and Rose Syrup

    I also make some chai in the morning in lieu of coffee so I avoid the caffeine-jitters. The chai I make is from an Indian store and my girlfriend taught me how to make it. It is my absolute favorite morning beverage, aside from coffee, because it is spicy and flavorful. Lately I’ve been adding almond milk to it and a teaspoon of honey. Sometimes I add a teaspoon this rose syrup too, also from an Indian store. It has a flowery taste and it’s quite delicious! I find it important to note that any form of corn syrup is not an ingredient in this syrup, instead, the main ingredient is sugar.

    Lunch at Noon:

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    Lunch!

    Most of this stuff were leftovers from the dinner my mom had made the night before. Not all of my food is visible but inside this container is salmon, cod, fried eggplant, potatoes, arugala salad, green peppers, and tomatoes. It all can be eaten cold, which makes things more convenient.

    To ensure I get sufficient carbs in my diet, I also bring rice that I make.

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    Rice!

    This is the rice that I prepared the night before to bring for lunch. It is a recipe my girlfriend taught me and it is my favorite food. It’s soooo good because it’s so flavorful and satisfying! I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients to make it correctly so I had to improvise a bit, but it is still delicious and easy to make.

    For this version of my girlfriend’s recipe, I sauteed some chopped yellow onions and cumin powder in a pan of hot olive oil. Then I added the soaked and rinsed Basmati rice and water. After that, you just let the rice boil and the water evaporate!

    These meals are satisfying and delicious, which has been great since I’ve been expending a lot of physical energy during my training.

    What do y’all eat when you are working out or you spend a whole day adventuring/traveling?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Post-Graduation Blues (Fake Happy)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    -Weekend Blog!

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

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

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

    Thursday:

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

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

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

  • Speaking My Mind

    I Am A Badass

    I’m feeling…a little gloomy I guess. For the most part, I’m feeling positive but…there’s a twinge of sadness mixed in there too.

    I had an intense and difficult conversation with my girlfriend last night and now I’m thinking about how to…improve some things in my life. Right now, it’s not at the forefront of my mind because there are some awesome things that are happening before I would have to address the things that I spoke about with my girlfriend. For example, tomorrow I’m presenting my thesis at a state conference for Women’s and Gender Studies! So I’m more focused on that right now, but once that and a few other things are over, I’ll have to resume determining how to make things better.

    The things I’d like to improve are in regards to the relationship between my girlfriend and my family, which I’ve mentioned several times before. The relationship between them is not hostile, but it’s not exactly warm either…and we’ll be dating for a year in 11 days. Plus I’m moving home in about 30 days so things can’t stay as they are right now because if they do, my mental health will suffer. This is why I’m going to develop a plan with my therapist in about two weeks to help me navigate the tension in a manner that will ultimately serve my well-being.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Moments of Self-Doubt

    I got into a horrible fight with my mom on the last day of spring break. She had gotten back from a difficult medical seminar and she was trying to relax at home when I came downstairs from my bedroom to sit with her and my sister. It was late, around 10:30pm, and they were planning the family trip to Disney to celebrate my graduation.

    I was joking with my sister and mentioned how I was turning twenty-three this year, which prompted my mom to ask me what I am doing with my life. Assuming she was joking too, I responded that I don’t know (which is pretty true though). For some reason, this response instigated the fight, which was essentially about how I need to get a job and how I’m not doing enough and how what I’ve been doing my entire college career has been a waste of time.

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