• Speaking My Mind

    August & September Favorites!

    It is time for another favorites post! Today I am sharing my top five favorite items from the last two months!

    1. Autumn-scented candle

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    This candle smells so delightful! It perfectly welcomes the autumn season and it has a great, festive color scheme too!

    2. Roasted Red Okra

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    I bought this at the farmer’s market because it looked unusual yet festive for the season.  I, unfortunately, forgot to take a photo of its beautiful hue before I put them in the oven, but you can get an idea of what it looks like by clicking here! Anyway, they tasted exactly like regular okra, they just looked extra cool with their red/green gradient, similar to how the leaves slowly begin to change from green to red as the days become brisker!

    I seasoned them with ground cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. Then I ate them with my hands! It’s a super delicious and easy recipe.

    3. I learned how to cut an avocado!

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    Yes, as a college graduate, I finally learned how to cut an avocado! In the past, I have squished avocados and I have gotten the meat all over my hands trying to get the pit out, but now I’m less of an amateur.

    The trick is to cut the avocado in half, all the way around. Then, before pulling the halves apart, Turn the avocado so the cuts you just made are on the sides, then cut the avocado in half again. This way, when you pull it apart, you have four quarters as pictured above! It makes serving the avocado easier as well as removing the pit.

    4. Sweet Loren’s Gluten-Free Fudgy Brownie Cookies

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    These cookies are insane! I’m a chocoholic and my preferred baked dessert is brownies, but not just any brownies. I need to have my Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Brownies with chocolate chips. They are seriously heaven! These cookies are real competition for the brownies.

    The cookies from Sweet Loren’s are relatively new and my sister bought them to try. We are a big fan of this brand because their cookies are organic, often gluten and dairy free, and the woman behind the business is a survivor of cancer. Our favorite cookie from this brand is the chocolate chunk ones, and this brownie cookie places a close second.

    These cookies are essentially brownie bites, especially when warm! They are rich, moist, and super chocolate-y. They are a healthier version of the Ghiradelli brownies, and I’m all for it!

    5. Toothpaste and Tongue Scraper

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    I picked this up when I was with my girlfriend in the Indian store we frequent. It came with a free, stainless steel tongue scraper, which was cool because I had been wanting to integrate that into my daily routine.

    Initially, I did not like this toothpaste because I found it to be foamier than the toothpaste I usually use (Arm & Hammer’s Advanced White Toothpaste), but I’ve grown to really enjoy this brand.

    It has a more…earthy flavor and it’s a brown color that foams white. A little goes a long way because it gets extra foamy. The tongue cleaner is super nice and I’ve been using it daily.

    Those are all my favorites for these last two months! Was there anything you tried recently that is currently your favorite thing? If you try any of my favorites, let me know what you think!

    xx Vic

  • Mysticism

    Realigning with My True Self – An Oracle Card Reading

    September has been emotionally difficult because every day feels like a futile fight to stay positive and to cultivate a future. It seems like a futile fight because most days I wake up already in a bad mood, and on the few days when I actually wake up excited and I work toward my goals, I end up feeling defeated and depressed by the end of the night.

    I try not to casually throw around the word, “depressed,” because I don’t want to misuse it…but I feel like after weeks of crying daily, instigating tons unnecessary fights with my mom and with my girlfriend, emotionally beating myself up, reducing myself to nothing, and wishing I could escape from reality warrants the use of the term, “depressed.”

    I have only wished I could disappear when I am struggling to cope with change, struggling to stay afloat, and struggling to thrive. Right now I’m struggling with all three, so it’s overwhelming.

    I’m not sharing this to worry anyone…I don’t want to hurt myself, I just don’t always want to deal with my life. Not because my life is bad or anything, because my life isn’t bad at all. I have food, a home, a caring family, health insurance, and I’m finally working part-time. My life is good and comfortable, which I’m grateful for and I try to remind myself of this all of the time.

    Despite acknowledging my blessings, I get caught up in my stagnancy. When I focus my energy on taking steps toward my goals so I can move forward, I doubt myself and I doubt my ability to move forward at all. It’s a toxic cycle that unfortunately has poisoned my emotional well-being as well as my relationships. I don’t want to be around anyone because I feel like poison. Isolation exacerbates my depression too.

    So…I pulled my Ganesha cards on Monday to get some insight and guidance that I can reflect upon. I’m not going to share a picture of my cards this time because most of them I have already shared on my blog.

    My Reading

    1. The first card, which represents where I am now, I pulled Positive Outlook. I was bewildered when I saw this card because as noted previously, I wouldn’t consider myself having a positive outlook at the moment. Well, the card is about how all circumstances are neutral, and it is one’s mental attitude that influences how it is perceived. It reminds me of what I have read in The Untethered Soul as well as something I had painted on a flowerpot after my grief group concluded two years ago: Your perception is your reality. I suppose I need to take a step back from judging my experiences as negative and to at least view things as neutral.
    2. Sustenance is the card that represents my next steps. The painting on the card is of Ganesha enjoying a buffet, but the card isn’t about food. It’s about how I need to acknowledge my blessings as well as acknowledge the abundance of ways to support my desires. I need to understand my needs and satiate them, even if it’s scary or unconventional.
    3. My obstacle is Cultivation, which is strongly linked to music. Music creates communities and it soothes the soul, causing music to be a method for connecting to spirits. I haven’t been listening to music too much…I either listen to podcasts or watch something on Netflix. When I’m not listening to these things, I spend my time in silence…but I suppose it’s a little too isolating right now. Perhaps replacing the silence with my yoga playlists would facilitate some more positive thinking, creativity, and a sense of belonging.
    4. My resource for overcoming my inability to cultivate is Reflection. When I saw this card, I was like “duh, I’m great at reflecting! I reflect and write weekly!” When I read the description of this card though, I was speechless. I’ll just share what it all says.

    “You have reached the point in your life’s journey where self-judgment and criticism no longer serve you. It is imperative that you understand and appreciate the distinctive persona that you bring into all situations. Each of us has our own unique path….Through reflection and visualization, get in touch with the wise person within you.” – Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards by Angela Hartfield

    While this card is titled “Reflection,” I feel like it is about more than that…and it really resonated with me.

    5. My new outcome is “Acceptance,” which I’ve pulled multiple times because I’m always fighting with my true self. This relates back to alignment as well. Life will become easier when I accept my true self and when I accept that I don’t have to know everything. The reality that I don’t know anything about my future has been weighing on me because it’s an uncomfortable feeling. I haven’t been enjoying living in the unknown and not having all of the answers right now. My life will improve though when I look at my experiences and the world from a more spiritual perspective as well as by not placing so much value on my thoughts.

    All of these cards address connecting with who I really am…thus, that may be the key to transforming my perspective and my life. It will take some time and patience to realign with my true self via these suggestions from my Ganesha cards. My meditation practice, although not daily (yet), will help me get there too.

    Also…while I feel like I have been stagnant, that isn’t necessarily true. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am now working a part-time job. I am also almost done with the hiring process to teach a regular yoga class in my town. I doubted I was going to be able to teach yoga this year and if I hadn’t nailed the audition, I was going to postpone my teaching dreams…but the universe surprised me. Lastly, after avoiding and debating with myself for several months, I finally booked a GRE test date!

    So…things are moving. I’m progressing, contrary to what I believe.

    If you would like an oracle card reading, please comment below or email me at hello@unziptheselips.com.

    xx Vic

  • Short Stories,  Speaking My Mind

    My Disappointing Lust Life

    I’ve included this video clip in the post I wrote when I turned nineteen…I hate repeating things but I felt that this was so appropriate for what I want to talk about: my lust life.  AKA my love life but there has been no love so…I’m going to refer to it as my lust life.

    Since school started in the fall, there have been four people I’ve toyed a little with.

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