• 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.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Glamping + Spring Break

    While many college seniors are enjoying their last spring break on the beach, I was glamping in my parents’ house. Due to the storm that hit us recently, my parents’ town had no power for about five days. The power is back on, thankfully, so the glamping (glamorous camping) has ended.

    My spring break is coming to an end too since I am returning to my apartment tomorrow to study for an exam I have next Friday. It’s been pretty chill. On Sunday I went to my step-grandma’s, sister’s birthday party. The food was delicious and it was a surprisingly nice time.

    Other than that, my spring break has been low-key. I’ve been primarily doing schoolwork. My thesis is due the Monday after the next, and I’m feeling…not great. I have done some work, which is definitely better than nothing, but I don’t feel like I’ve been productive enough. I’m feeling a bit stressed and the stress is ruining my sleep, so I feel exhausted.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Virgo Full Moon Ritual – March 2018

    I tried my adaptation of the Virgo Full Moon Ritual in the morning after I did my daily yoga session. I decided to do a Full Moon Yoga flow, followed by stretching because last time I did it, my hamstrings were killing me for several days afterward. Then I did the ritual.

    Part of the ritual was to feel and think about what makes you feel like you are on task. I interpreted that as…what makes you feel fulfilled? What goals do you want to achieve, and what can you do more of to help you get there?

    The three things that came to my mind were my girlfriend, my blog, and school.

  • Speaking My Mind

    My Experience with Mysticism

    My experience with mysticism began at an early age due to my parents’ influence.  My dad’s parents were immigrants during World War II and were deeply religious, presumably as a result of experiencing and witnessing such tragedy.  They raised my dad and his siblings as Baptist.  My mom, a Puerto Rican in Manhattan, grew up as Catholic.  When my parents had me and my sister, they raised us as Baptist.

    I was very involved in the Baptist church for a majority of my childhood.  I attended church regularly on Sunday, Vacation Bible School in the summer, and youth groups. Many of my friends at the time were Christian too, although different denominations, but I joined their youth groups in addition to my own.  Therefore, at one point in time, I was part of three youth groups.  The youth groups were my favorite form of involvement because they were smaller and therefore more personal.  We also did fun activities such as games and day trips, but there was always a spiritual element to it.

  • Speaking My Mind,  unzipped lips

    Investing in Myself

    Welcome to the first official blog post on my new domain! Wow!

    I never expected to take my passion for blogging further by purchasing my own domain, but I did it! My supportive and loving girlfriend was part of the process toward believing in myself and taking that leap of faith…the Truth + Dare Podcasts have also been instrumental in me reaching this point.

    All of my posts were uploaded from my free WordPress blog yesterday, and then I played with the design, edited my “about” page, and created an email and wham! here I am! I was super excited yesterday to see it all come to fruition…to be honest though, now I’m a little nervous.

    Although I’ve mapped out some goals I have for this blog as well as some unique blog post ideas, I have no idea how to create an online presence. Yes, I’ve blogged on different platforms before but they had a social component where almost everyone else that viewed the site was also a blogger…so it was a supportive community. Now I feel like I’m on some island by myself, trying to figure out how I can get back the mainland when I have to create my own boat and/or bridge. I will probably have to get wet. By that I mean…I won’t succeed right away. I may have to do things that make me uncomfortable/nervous to reach my goals. I may even have to reevaluate my goals.

    It feels cumbersome researching methods for marketing your blog to gain an audience, considering how I’m now doubting any previous success I’ve had with blogging before. I suppose I just need to refocus the intention of this upgrade.

    Unzip These Lips’ Purpose

    I blog to express myself; to put language to my feelings and experiences and to help me take action. I want to connect with people that can relate to this struggle as well as to my experiences and feelings. I would like to create a dialogue about issues and challenges we face. A successful blog would consist of several followers that communicate with each other and with me to share ideas related to the topics I write. A successful blog would develop a community. My blog is like a personal lifestyle blog but an intimate one…which makes me unique to other blogs. So I would connect with people through the intimacy I share to help them and to help me.

    This is a very long purpose but for now, it is sufficient.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Family and Significant Others

    How do you navigate this? By this, I mean the title of this post. Specifically when your SO is the same gender as you are.

    I worry that I’m not dealing with this appropriately…lemme explain.

    My family knows about my girlfriend and they’ve met her. She’s come to the house several times. They don’t seem to have any objections (believe me, if they did, they would make it known) but they also don’t seem particularly excited about her. I can only assume it’s because she is a woman, but honestly, who knows. Reasons I have come to this conclusion though include:

    1. They never ask me about how she is.
    2. They never ask me about how we are.
    3. They don’t get excited when she is around, whereas I would expect them to get excited if she was a guy.
    4. My sister barely acknowledges her when she’s literally next to me. Perhaps she feels shy/uncomfortable though?

    constantly worry about how they perceive her, and why they perceive her a certain way. For this reason, I tend to be hesitant to share activities we do together and anything that kids may tell their immediate families about their significant other.

    I’m stressed that either 1. they don’t take our relationship seriously and/or 2. they’re just tolerating her because they care about me, but they don’t really like her, or accept her, for whatever reason.

    I’ve been considering to bring it up with them but then I don’t want to address it because I’m afraid of instigating a dispute or an intense conversation…I just want them to more openly welcome her and to care about her because I care about her.

    Of course, I’ve discussed it with her at length because I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable or bad about anything. She says she fixated on it before but she doesn’t let it get to her anymore…unfortunately it continues to affect me because they are my family.

    If anyone has any suggestions for me in regards to how to navigate this, please let me know. I would greatly appreciate it.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Trusting the Universe

    I should do this. So should you.

    “You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

    -Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata

    I seem to frequently forget this when I’m pitying myself and inviting anyone close to me to join…but my girlfriend kindly reminded me. She wasn’t being intentional when she reminded me, she was talking about her excitement for life after college (which is the main theme of my pity parties lately), and she said something about things always working out. Which reminded me…things generally, eventually work out for me too. So I should stop throwing these pity parties. Besides, they’re not a good look.

    But yeah…the universe unfolds as it should. It didn’t forget about me. I’ve written about this before, several times. There are years of evidence that whenever I feel like my life is going to crash and burn for whatever reason, the universe tends to swoop in and keep me afloat, and I usually am able to even swim too.

    So…in regards to this “after-college-job-search,” I’m going to get a job offer! Soon! I’m going to continue to sell myself and be the best I can be and someone is going to eventually come around and love what I have to offer. I am a desirable candidate who is intelligent and who has a lot to offer!

    I will keep this in mind when I attend the job fair this week. Wish me luck!

    xx Vic

     

  • Speaking My Mind

    Swallowed by the Grey

    Everything has felt so miserable.  I haven’t done anything fun because of school, which I’m not doing too well in anyway…my bestie didn’t come to visit me for Halloweekend this year and I’ve been spending most of my weekends wallowing in my room.  I can’t wait for this semester to end and to graduate, but when that happens, I’ll be going back home and I won’t be seeing my girlfriend nearly as frequently.  Our relationship will change because we’ll be in two different places, both physically and emotionally.  We only live about an hour away from each other but if I’m working full-time (at this rate, I won’t be because I stopped applying for jobs) and she’ll be at school full-time…we’ll have different, busy schedules.  I don’t think it’ll negatively impact our relationship but I’ll just miss seeing her every day and I’ll miss spending as much time together.  I also won’t be seeing my sister as much…I’ll miss being at school with her.

    My birthday is tomorrow and my sister and I may not have a voice due to laryngitis caused by allergies.  Dinner with our parents will be incredibly silent.  This happened to me last February for the first time since elementary school, and I was hoping it wouldn’t happen again but alas, it appears it will.

    I’m quite sad that tomorrow is my birthday…I am not where I want to be.  Then again, I’m never satisfied with where I’m at.  Why is that?  What will it take for me to be happy, even if I’m not “the best?”  Why make myself miserable?  How can I change the way I value my life so that I’m positive and kinder to myself?  Perhaps value societal expectations of me less?  Perhaps value academic excellence less?  Perhaps value the way I feel about myself more? How do I go about valuing myself more?

    Anyway…I went to the city on Saturday to combat all this negativity.  I went with my girlfriend because we had been talking about wanting to go for forever but for one reason or another, we haven’t been together yet.  It was pretty spontaneous because we kept going back and forth with it but then we both got train tickets and hopped on the train and we were off!

  • Speaking My Mind,  Yummy Recipes

    The Autumn Harvest

     

    I just had my first midterm this semester and I think I bombed it, which is depressing.  I had a nice lunch with my girlfriend afterward though and now I’m in my room relaxing before I pick her up to go to Trader Joe’s.  A Trader Joe’s just opened in the area and we went once already a couple of weeks ago but we’re going to go again today.  After that, I’m going to do some work around the apartment like do laundry, sanitize my room, finalize my resume and apply for some jobs, and study for my last midterm on Friday.  I’m less stressed about it but I have a ton of preparation to do still.

    Anyway…I’m considering seeing my therapist again because I’ve been feeling a little depressed.  I’ve unfortunately been taking it out on my girlfriend a lot as well as my family…but she suffers more because I’m around her more frequently than I am with my family.  It’s not fair to her and I don’t like constantly picking fights with her because I’m in a bad mood.  I’ve been doing several things to take care of myself such as yoga, cooking, and writing…perhaps I don’t need more outlets though…perhaps I need to do more professional and future plan-related development.  I’ve done a ton of that but I feel like it’s been futile so…I feel stuck.

    Anyway…let’s talk about food!

    The first dish I made with my girlfriend, and it’s pizza!  We made this over the summer, in late August.  We made several errors here…one is that we used way too much dough for the small pizza tray we had, and ended up with deep-dish style pizza.  I don’t quite remember what we put on the pizza…she did most of the work.  I was doing a puzzle but she added mushrooms, jalapenos, three or four different cheeses, pepperoni…spinach probably…onions…yeah it was intense.  The toppings were great but because she added so many of them and because there was too much dough, the toppings all fell into the center.  I think the pizza would’ve been better if we executed the dough part better.

    The next two pictures are two different adaptations of tomato sandwiches.  My family friend’s mom grows tomatoes so he brought some over and my mom decided to make tomato sandwiches to really savor the freshness of them.  Tomato sandwiches consist of toasted bread, a thin layer of mayo on both sides, fresh torn basil, and then the tomatoes! it’s super easy and it really highlights the deliciousness of the tomatoes.  The first version is with Italian bread, which is great but cuz it was so crusty, the tomatoes slipped out.  The sliced bread was better because the tomatoes stayed inside.  When I went back to my apartment, I made another variation (not pictured here) with sliced and toasted wheat bread, butter, dried basil, and then the tomatoes.  It was good but it’s definitely better with at least fresh basil.

    The other pizza photo is a grilled pizza my mom makes on the grill.  Making pizza this way has become popular but my family swears she came up with it first.  But yeah…it’s super delicious.

    The first pasta dish is penne with butternut squash from the In the Kitchen Food Network app.  I never cooked with butternut squash before so I was excited to try it, especially because I know I enjoy butternut squash.

    I had to peel and cut the butternut squash, which was kinda difficult because it’s hard like cutting a raw potato.  I won’t be making butternut squash a regular part of my diet just because the preparation takes too long.  Anyway…this dish includes the butternut squash, cremini mushrooms, black pepper, fresh garlic, red onion, red pepper flakes, parmesan, and oregano.

    My mistake here was using shitake mushrooms instead of cremini.  Shitake mushrooms, which I’ve never cooked with before, are super smelly and cooking them was incredibly unpleasant.  I feel like if I used a less stinky mushroom, such as the one they suggested, I would’ve enjoyed this dish more.  Otherwise, I loved this dish because it’s seasonal and overall, pretty simple.  I served this dish with a side of fresh tomatoes and sauteed spinach.

    I didn’t make the next plate that I pictured.  It’s actually from an organic made-to-order cafeteria on campus.  They use a ton of vegetables, lean meats, and different sauces.  One of my favorite sauces is raspberry jalapeno.  The one pictured here is papaya lime.

    The next two pictures are of an omelet I made.  I really enjoyed the flavors so I took a photo.  Plus, I’ve been making perfectly round omelets!  The omelet ingredients I chose were pepperoni (leftover from the pizza), red onions (leftover from the penne dish), and the stinky shitake mushrooms, also leftover from the penne dish.  The odor was unpleasant but it tasted delicious, especially when topped with feta which melted a bit, so good!

    Some of the next dishes were brought to you by the local farmer’s market that comes to campus!  Unfortunately, last week was the last week of the farmer’s market.  I love the farmer’s market because it entices me to try new vegetables and I like supporting local farmers.

    The first meal I made with ingredients from the market was simple and also from the app.  I got okra and sauteed it with fresh tomatoes I still had from my mom’s friend, garlic, salt and pepper, and a splash of cider vinegar.  I put it over pasta to make it a meal and damn, it was tasty.  I love okra because it’s slimy, but I don’t eat it as frequently anymore.  I will definitely have to change that because it’s easy to prepare and cook, and it’s healthy too!

    The waffle ice cream is a dessert I made with my girlfriend in the dining hall.  I just thought it looked nice.

    The next dish in the pan is white eggplant I got from the farmer’s market sauteed with fresh tomatoes.  (I had a ton of tomatoes for awhile).  I splashed some balsamic vinegar in there and it was good…white eggplant didn’t seem incredibly different to me than purple eggplant except the skin is tougher.

    There is another waffle ice cream….lol they’re soooo good!

    The dish after that is pho I prepared in the dining hall at school.  I love pho and there’s an authentic place down the street that makes it but I never go…but the dining hall does a pretty decent job.  I get chicken and chicken broth and either sweet potato noodles or some other type of noodle…and then I season it with lime wedges, fresh jalapeno, lots of bean sprouts, and whatever else they have.  I enjoy the crunch of bean sprouts and the contrasting flavors of jalapeno and lime…it’s so damn tasty.

    The next meal I made included banana peppers from the farmer’s market which I stuffed with sausage, bread crumbs, egg, parmesan, and seasonings.  I then cooked it until golden and served with homemade tomato sauce I made probably a couple of months ago.

    My mom made homemade mac and cheese and then baked it at the end…so delicious.  I shall make it myself one day but experiment with cheeses and flavors.

    The next meal is a sweet potato I seasoned with honey, olive oil, salt and pepper, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg.  I baked it until it was soft.

    The last photos pertain to an old family classic dessert my mom makes for me, but this time I made it myself!  As you can see, my girlfriend and I have hoarded many apples from the dining hall.  The dessert I made with the apples is called apple crisp.  I made it by peeling the apples, slicing them thinly, and then seasoning them in a bowl with cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.  Then I put the mixture in a glass baking pan.  Next, I made the topping which consists of brown sugar, raw oats, flour, and tons of butter.  After I mixed it up, I spread it over the apples and then put the entire thing into the oven to bake.  Then you eat it when it’s warm and serve it with ice cream!

    The next couple of things I’m going to make are from the farmer’s market too!  I am going to make a dish with celeriac and poblano peppers.  I’m also going to try making ginger tea with fresh ginger.  I’ve learned that I greatly enjoy ginger but I’ve never really had it fresh, so I’m excited to try it!

    Happy cooking!

    xx Vic

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