Creative inspiration sent to me and shared with me: I’m so appreciative of all the socially, professionally, politically, intellectually plugged in individuals in my off-line and on-line life. On any given day, I can open my Twitter or email and find myself face-to-face with scintillating new facts, thoughts, and debates, shared by engaged individuals. These individuals and the content they generate encourage me to think creatively and stay up-to-date on current events. Today, for example, my tennis partner said me this interesting article, which is especially relevant in light of my Dear Starbucks post.
My stepdad: Having both parents live out of the country can sometimes lead to a feeling of parental deficiency. Words cannot express how appreciative I am to have my stepdad, who lives locally, in my life. He’s been there for me during financial hardships, emotional turmoil, birthday dinners, and ski trips. But what never ceases to amaze me is that he has literally no obligation to do any of this. This Brad Paisley song brings me to tears with the words “Lookin’ back all I can say, About all the things he did for me, Is I hope I’m at least half the dad, That he didn’t have to be.” Those lyrics really ring true for me. That song will definitely be played during my wedding during our father-daughter dance.
Babysitting: Nothing beats spending a day with kids to see life in a whole different- and usually simplified- way. Every Wednesday, I get to step out of the office and babysit two adorable blonde children. Seeing the smile on the girl’s face when she sees me behind the wheel, combined with the cheers of “Miss Cristina! Miss Cristina” is enough to make anyone feel special. And once the boy gets over the disappointment (and sometimes tears) of seeing me instead of his mom, he has fun too 🙂 It’s such a fun time to get back in touch with my child-like sense of wonder (haha not that it’s ever far away!). We eat ice cream, walk at the lake, feed the ducks, play with toys at Marbles, and watch Scooby Doo. And I’m constantly blown away by how perceptive kids are!
Hair: as I was blow-drying and straightening my hair this morning (which I never do anymore!), I realize how much I take having hair, let alone healthy hair that I love, for granted. I wrote awhile back about two girls who shaved their heads for St. Baldrick’s, so I wanted to unearth that post in light of my awareness of things I take for granted.
Music: I said awhile back that I had never considered myself a music person, but now I realize how ever-present it is in my life. In fact, a quick search of my blog showed plenty of results including the word “music.” Nevertheless, it’s always nice to appreciate everyday music, from Baby Got Back, which makes 7am weight lifting slightly more bearable, to a mid-afternoon playing of Doin’ Alright by Collective Efforts to put some pep into the end of the day.
The absolutely stunningly beautiful tree directly outside my living room and kitchen windows. It really perks up my morning to peek out the window as I make my peppermint mocha coffee! The picture below does not do it justice; I’m planning to take my Canon out and snap some photos before all the leaves fall.
Whew, that’s a lot to cover in one blog post, huh? Here we go!
My goals for the week were:
At least one yoga or Pilates class– Didn’t manage this (too busy playing tennis!)
Two weight-lifting sessions– Did one at-home session
Continuing working on a certain someone’s birthday present (can’t use the actual verb because I don’t want to give it away- could be make, order, buy, rent…)– Woot woot
Set up an official referral program for The Raleigh Forum– In progress
Bring one more person into the bloggers’ group– More like five or six! So many people have sent me names of awesome local female bloggers!
Make one new soup recipe– I tried two! I made roasted pepper potato soup and a spiced tomato potato soup
If you’ve been following my blog since, say, October 12, 2010, you might recall Three A Day (TAD). This was my easy-to-remember phrase for writing down three things each day that I was thankful for. I thought it was a good idea to bring it back given my challenge for next week!
Having a dog whisperer for a sister! I was frustrated about Maddie’s behavior, but my sister showed me the benefits of a gentle leader (a miracle worker), as well as some easy tricks for making her tune into me and respond to my commands.
Having a nice, spacious apartment. I was overwhelmed by the amount of dishes and cleaning I had to do, but then I reminded myself that not everyone has a kitchen to clean (sorry for being so cheesy).
Having the support of an incredible organization like the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, who hosted an event at The Raleigh Forum yesterday. We have over 50 individuals attend, and I would say that it was a stellar success!
This Day Last Year: I was in the midst of the fall of my senior year and actively listing TADs each day! In my post, I recapped the day before, which included a date with one of my (still) best friends, a day of babysitting the baby that I still love and miss, and a lovely note from a GW Bites customer. That was an exciting fall because I had just begun GW Bites!
I keep track of all the blogs that I love through Google Reader and #reverb10 keeps popping up on my “newsfeed.” It’s an innovative website that encourages individuals to “reflect on this year and manifest what’s next.” Since I consider myself a “constant self-improver,” I thought it would be neat to participate by responding to the daily prompts. I don’t want to be too ambitious, so I might start out by choosing just one prompt per week to respond to.
Three-A-Day for yesterday:
“Catered” for one of my classes
Finished classes; in the home stretch for the rest of the semester (VERY bittersweet as a senior)
Enjoyed a night out with two friends
Officially going to Birthright in February with my sister!
Today and this weekend:
Getting paid to cook, grocery shop, play with a baby, and hang out in Georgetown- perfection!
A friend’s birthday is tonight- we have fun plans! I bought her a giant cupcake from Trader Joe’s 🙂
Grabbing lunch with other GW students who are interested in food entrepreneurship
Attending a going away party for a friend who’s moving to San Fran!
Maybe brunch on Sunday?
Baking party with a friend- making baked goods for everyone we love!
Early morning date with one of my best best friends. She came over at 8am (eek!) with Pumpkin Spice Lattes and we chatted while I baked mini oreo cheesecakes. She’s a great photographer and she took some amazing pictures in the kitchen!
From 10am to 5pm I played with a baby and cooked. Heaven! I made root-vegetable gratin, pot roast, baked butternut squash fries, pumpkin-carrot muffins, and tossed salad. In between cooking, I played with a 3 month old baby. I took her to Whole Foods and Starbucks, and I felt like a mom 🙂 Watching a baby is just about the best feeling in the world, so that made my day.
Had a late-night study date with a friend to finish (well, and start!) our take-home midterm for our class. Always fun chatting with her because we share similar values and can relate in terms of professional goals.
I’m still just blown away by how quickly everything has taken off! So exciting and rewarding.
Picked up beautiful red fall leaves to put around my apartment
Perfect fall weather
GW Bites successes
Also: my sister and her best friend will be in DC in 3 days. SO excited. Our plans include: winery tour/wine tasting in VA, little road trip through the fall leaves, Nooshi (fav DC restaurant), watching my friend run the Marine Corps Marathon, sissy’s birthday dinner (big 2-5!), playing Taboo, cooking, jazz club, etc. The three of us have the best time together, so I can’t wait until we’re reunited 🙂
Whew, amazing how quickly the days got away! It’s been few days since I’ve done my TAD, so I thought I’d just combine the highlights of the last few days. SO much wonderful things have been happening.
Our #SocEntChat at work went well
Met the family I’ll be working for next week- adorable 3-month-old girl
Had a mid-week dinner with a friend- which never happens anymore because our schedules conflict
Got a high grade on an exam I thought I didn’t do well on
Met an inspiring speaker at a Compass event
Submitted the first part of my application for a fellowship in India
Went out for the first time in a few weeks and had a BLAST- met new interesting people & talked about real things (not just superficial bar conversations)
Met some fun neighbors
Met a guy who does international development consulting; he offered to help me in any way he can
Applied for a blogging scholarship- here’s hoping!
And the BEST part of the past few days: I finally announced GW Bites (home-cooked meals for students, as well as “Meals in a Jar”). As of right now, I’ve had 882 hits on the website today alone- I am thrilled and shocked by the level of interest. In addition, I had an exciting meeting with a friend, who offered to host a launch party for me at her apartment. AND three people contacted me about becoming part of the GW Bites cooking/baking team. I was a giddy mess all day because I’m SOO excited about the potential for GW Bites.
And I have a fun day-date planned with one of my best friends who I never see anymore. Yay!
Got an amazing (and amazingly inappropriate) postcard from my big sister
Babysat for a new family- so great! The little 5-year-old boy told me “Usually I’m shy around babysitters. But I’m not shy around you.” I’m genuinely enjoying my babysitting gigs!
Launched my new website for my little business venture
Had a great 2.5 hour walk with a friend. We walked up 16th St to U St and ate a late lunch at a little place called Chix. I highly recommend it!
On a different note: so far this glorious autumn season, I have made or helped a friend make (okay, to be honest, that consisted of me licking the bowl, not actually helping!) the following pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin scones: Delicious warmed up with butter. Slightly strange before-taste because I put too much baking soda- whoops! Lesson learned
Pumpkin spice coffee: Eh, not very successful. I think I’ll stick to my pumpkin spice coffee at Starbucks, my daily treat
Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing: My friend made these- heavenly! Even better with a candy corn on top.
Pumpkin whoopie pies: Amazing! These are the ones I gave to my executive board, my neighbor, and my boss. Hopefully their delight was genuine.
So next of the agenda: Pumpkin pancakes! I wanted to make pumpkin-banana pancakes, but unfortunately, TJ’s doesn’t have ripe bananas.
On a separate note, found this blog from Jordan Reid: Ramshackle Glam. It seems like she has a very fun and healthy approach to life, which she refers to as a “haphazard guide to happiness.” In her words:
“Well, it’s not a “guide” as much as it is an encapsulation of my (ever-so-slightly disastrous, but generally pretty positive) approach to life. I think that there’s an unbelievable amount of negativity out there in the world – and especially on the internet – and that fear of being judged impacts people’s ability to embrace what they truly enjoy. The point of this site is to encourage you to shut out all that noise and do what makes you feel good.”
I’ve been having great days, hence the title of this post. I have so many highlights that it’s hard to choose just three- don’t mean to rub it in if you’re not doing so hot!
A sophomore girl told me that her class was discussing change leaders on campus. She told me she raised her hand and said my name. Then she told me she “wanted to be like me when she grew up.” It was the sweetest compliment ever and definitely made my day. It’s interesting being a senior and knowing that people look up to you! It’s nice to know I’m a positive role model- at least in one person’s eyes 🙂
I had a long talk with a friend about my career future. He said he saw me in a corporate setting but in a position that made a social impact- exactly my thoughts! Since I LOVE career discussions, it was fun for me to be pyscho-analyzed haha.
I saw the Social Network last night with two new friends. They’re great girls and I’m excited to still be making friends senior year of college! It’s nice to see that people aren’t closed off to meeting new people. On a less positive note, the movie made me sad! Seeing the relationship between friends destroyed over money, fame, and girls was disappointing and left me feeling icky. So here’s to never letting those factors get in the way of real friendships (or sisterhood!)
It’s only 3:20 and I have so many! I had a free day, so I checked some things off my to do list, including running to Target for some much-needed cooking supplies and fall clothing.
A fellow intern sent me a Facebook message asking if I had an interest in subbing for her at her work while she’s gone for a week. The job is…drumroll please…taking care of a baby and cooking for the family. If you know me, you’ll know this is just about my dream job! I get to play with an adorable baby and get paid to cook? SIGN ME UP!
I got my shower drained cleaned- not super exciting, but let me tell you, it needed it! Such a relief to finally have it handled.
As I mentioned, I picked up some baking supplies + clothing. I didn’t get what I needed (brown loafers and a brown/beige light jacket), but I’m very happy with my purchases 🙂
I had an idea for a business venture as I was on the Metro home- I love cooking, so why not offer home-cooked meals for GW students who either don’t have a kitchen OR don’t like to/can’t cook? Woo, more on that as it progresses.
Headed to Career Center to talk about future career options- yes, I’m excited and yes, I’m a dork 🙂